If a person insists that they are color blind, how can you prove otherwise? This was the question facing Herbert Jägle, Bettina Sadowski, Jan Kremers, Hendrik P.N. Scholl, Beate Leo-Kottler, and Lindsay T. Sharpe, who set out to devise a method. Their 2003 study was carried out as a result of a court case, in which an individual had been accused of ‘malingering‘ – in the sense that he was not keen on joining the military, citing color blindness as a reason not to.
A battery of tests using newly-developed cone-isolating flicker large-field ERG recordings showed, amongst other things, that the function of his long-wavelength-sensitive cones was completely absent. In other words was he was indeed a ‘protanope‘. See: Detecting color vision in a malingerer in : Documenta Ophthalmologica, March 2003, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 121-128
Question: Could an alternative title for the paper be ‘Failure to detect color vision in a non-malingerer’?
Bonus: Three of the authors also contributed to a later study : Visual short-term effects of viagra: double-blind study in healthy young subjects in: American Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 137, Issue 5, May 2004, Pages 842–849
[photo courtesy Martin Howard / Wikipedia]