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Can the magnocellular pathway read? Evidence from studies of color

Chase, Christopher; Ashourzadeh, Arash; Kelly, Charlotte; Monfette, Sharon; Kinsey, Kristofer


Christopher Chase

Arash Ashourzadeh

Charlotte Kelly

Sharon Monfette

Kris Kinsey
Senior Lecturer in Psychology


A review of the neurophysiological literature suggests that the magnocellular pathway has adequate spatial-frequency and contrast sensitivity to perceive text under normal contrast conditions (>10%) and also is suppressed by red light. Results from three experiments involving color and reading show that red light impairs reading performance under normal luminance contrast conditions. However in a fourth experiment, isoluminant color text, designed to selectively activate the parvocellular pathway, is easier to read under red light. These discrepant results suggest that the magnocellular pathway is the dominant visual pathway for text perception. Implications for reading models and developmental dyslexia are discussed. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


Chase, C., Ashourzadeh, A., Kelly, C., Monfette, S., & Kinsey, K. (2003). Can the magnocellular pathway read? Evidence from studies of color. Vision Research, 43(10), 1211-1222.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2003
Journal Vision Research
Print ISSN 0042-6989
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 10
Pages 1211-1222
Keywords reading, word recognition, dyslexia
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