PMID: 5918059Aug 1, 1966

An attempt to analyse colour reception by electrophysiology

The Journal of Physiology
K I Naka, W A Rushton


1. The problem of colour reception is that we do not know the action spectra of the visual pigments involved, the nature of the signals generated nor the interaction between these signals. We only know the incident light and the electric results of interaction.2. In Part 1 we show that S-potentials from red/green (R/G) units saturated with deep red light show this property: added green light pulls down the ceiling of depolarization, but more added red had no power to raise it again. Thus lights that depress the deep red ceiling equally stimulate the green pigment equally. From this the action spectrum of the green pigment can be obtained.3. If we assume that only two visual pigments are involved in the R/G unit, and that lights which do not pull down the deep red ceiling are below the threshold for green cones, then in this range only the red pigment is excited and we may obtain its action spectrum. Its maximum is at 680 nm where no visual pigment so far has been found.4. In Part 2 we consider the following mathematical problem: ;Is it possible that two pigments of given action spectra could combine their outputs in such a way that the resultant would be identical with the output of a third pigment of given action spectrum, for...Continue Reading


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