Jaclyn Franklin

Lab #7 abstract


            Our group tested the reaction times of a person who is partially colorblind versus a person who is has full color vision. Partially colorblind individuals have a harder time differentiating certain colors; especially greens from blues. Those that are partially colorblind do not have the same type of cones that indicates colors in their eyes as those with full color vision. Because of this, the partially colorblind individual may need additional time for the brain to process between blue and green. We hypothesized that the brain of partially colorblind individuals requires additional time to distinguish between colors.

            To test our hypothesis, we used a color reaction timer, which determines the time it takes for a person to push a button corresponding to a lit up color light. Our experiment used one subject that was partially colorblind, one subject who had full color vision, and a mediator to administer the test. The mediator lit the colors on the reaction timer (red, blue, green, and white) in a random order. The experiment was a blind experiment because neither subject knew in what order the colors would be lit (the subjects also did not watch each otherÕs test). We predicted that our partially colorblind subject will have a longer reaction time than our subject with full color vision.

            Our results showed that the partially colorblind subject has slower reaction times when distinguishing between colors than an individual with full color vision. Our first trial had a mean reaction time of 0.5735 seconds for the full color vision subject and 0.83075 seconds for our partially colorblind subject. In our second trial, our full color vision subject had a mean reaction time of 0.729 seconds and our partially colorblind subject had a mean reaction time of 0.919875 seconds. On average, our full color visional subject was quicker to react than our partially colorblind subject.

            Our results are consistent with our prediction and support our hypothesis. The results of our study indicate that partial colorblindness does affect reaction time. However, there are potential problems that could have affected the outcome of our experiment. Because correlation does not always equal causation, slower reaction times are not necessarily caused by partial colorblindness. For example, our colorblind subject was a male and full color vision subject was female. It is possible that reaction times differ between sexes. Also, our partially colorblind subject could have naturally had slower hand eye coordination than our full color vision subject which would cause him to react more slowly to the colors. C.A. Heywood et. al 1998 showed how even though partially colorblind subjects canÕt usually differentiate between certain colors, they are still able to identify differences. This could be based on being able to see differences in wavelength. The subject tested wasnÕt able to verbally identify the position of a specific color, however appropriately moved his eyes to the color. It shows that colorblind subjects are Òvisually aware of contours generated by equiluminant color contrast, despite being unable to tell the colors apart.Ó This test shows why our partially colorblind subject was still able to identify what color was being represented, although at a slower pace, even though he might not have been able to say what color he was looking at.

            Our hypothesis might be modified had we had more tests and subjects for which to run our experiment. If we had numerous partially colorblind subjects (both male and female) and numerous full color vision subjects (both male and female), we would better understand the extent to which partial colorblindness plays in the reaction times of color differentiation.