Honors College

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Honors Thesis

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This study investigates whether there are differences in visual acuity when humans are asked to discriminate foreground from background images using different colors. In addition, it explores the concept of differences in color acuities between males and females. There are three different types of cone photoreceptors in the fovea, all of which have different sensitivities to different wavelengths of light. In addition, their distribution across the fovea varies in both location and in number. There are likely other individual differences in human visual systems related to color acuity and discriminations as well. We hypothesize that males and females will show a significant difference in their abilities to discriminate different colors. This new method for measuring color acuity involved using an "open door" in which participants had to decide if the door was open to the left or right. Subjects were presented with the open door on an LED computer screen for up to 4 seconds, before which they were asked to make a selection using the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard. Using a computer program, this door waspresented in a variety of colors against a variety of background colors. The size of the opening of the door varied from 1 to 6 pixels, allowing for an “inflection point” to be found near the middle at which we defined acuity. The study yielded enough results to conduct a detailed analysis of the acuities of 18 males and 18 females. The averaged results showed that males exhibit slightly better color discriminating abilities than females in all color combinations analyzed (though not shown to be statistically significant), and that both genders experienced great difficulty when discriminating any color combinations with yellow.

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Biology Commons