Experimental evidence that primate trichromacy is well suited for detecting primate social colour signals

Chihiro Hiramatsu, Amanda D. Melin, William L. Allen, Constance Dubuc, James Higham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Primate trichromatic colour vision has been hypothesized to be well tuned for detecting variation in facial coloration, which could be due to selection on either signal wavelengths or the sensitivities of the photoreceptors themselves. We provide one of the first empirical tests of this idea by asking whether, when compared with other visual systems, the information obtained through primate trichromatic vision confers an improved ability to detect the changes in facial colour that female macaque monkeys exhibit when they are proceptive. We presented pairs of digital images of faces of the same monkey to human observers and asked them to select the proceptive face. We tested images that simulated what would be seen by common catarrhine trichromatic vision, two additional trichromatic conditions and three dichromatic conditions. Performance under conditions of common catarrhine trichromacy, and trichromacy with narrowly separated LM cone pigments (common in female platyrrhines), was better than for evenly spaced trichromacy or for any of the dichromatic conditions. These results suggest that primate trichromatic colour vision confers excellent ability to detect meaningful variation in primate face colour. This is consistent with the hypothesis that social information detection has acted on either primate signal spectral reflectance or photoreceptor spectral tuning, or both.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number20162458
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Volume284
    Issue number1856
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 14 2017

    Fingerprint

    primate
    Primates
    Color
    color
    Color vision
    Color Vision
    color vision
    Aptitude
    photoreceptors
    Haplorhini
    monkeys
    cones (retina)
    spectral reflectance
    Macaca
    digital images
    digital image
    Information Systems
    Pigments
    reflectance
    wavelengths

    Keywords

    • Colour vision
    • Face colour variation
    • Primate
    • Reproductive state
    • Social signal
    • Trichromacy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)
    • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

    Cite this

    Experimental evidence that primate trichromacy is well suited for detecting primate social colour signals. / Hiramatsu, Chihiro; Melin, Amanda D.; Allen, William L.; Dubuc, Constance; Higham, James.

    In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 284, No. 1856, 20162458, 14.06.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Hiramatsu, Chihiro ; Melin, Amanda D. ; Allen, William L. ; Dubuc, Constance ; Higham, James. / Experimental evidence that primate trichromacy is well suited for detecting primate social colour signals. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2017 ; Vol. 284, No. 1856.
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