Comparison of the color selectivity of macaque V4 neurons in different color spaces

J Neurophysiol. 2016 Nov 1;116(5):2163-2172. doi: 10.1152/jn.00108.2016. Epub 2016 Aug 17.


Chromatic selectivity has been studied extensively in various visual areas at different stages of visual processing in the macaque brain. In these studies, color stimuli defined in the Derrington-Krauskopf-Lennie (DKL) color space with a limited range of cone contrast were typically used in early stages, whereas those defined in the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE) color space, based on human psychophysical measurements across the gamut of the display, were often used in higher visual areas. To understand how the color information is processed along the visual pathway, it is necessary to compare color selectivity obtained in different areas on a common color space. In the present study, we tested whether the neural color selectivity obtained in DKL space can be predicted from responses obtained in CIE space and whether stimuli with limited cone contrast are sufficient to characterize neural color selectivity. We found that for most V4 neurons, there was a strong correlation between responses measured using the two chromatic coordinate systems, and the color selectivities obtained with the two stimulus sets were comparable. However, for some neurons preferring high- or low-saturation colors, stimuli defined in DKL color space did not adequately capture the neural color selectivity. This is mainly due to the use of stimuli within a limited range of cone contrast. We conclude that regardless of the choice of color space, the sampling of colors across the entire gamut is important to characterize neural color selectivity fully or to compare color selectivities in different areas so as to understand color representation in the visual system.

Keywords: V4; color; monkey; single-unit recording; vision.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*