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Biomed Eng Online. 2011 Aug 19;10:74. doi: 10.1186/1475-925X-10-74.

Virtual environment to quantify the influence of colour stimuli on the performance of tasks requiring attention.

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Núcleo de Pesquisas Tecnológicas, Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes, Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, BR.



Recent studies indicate that the blue-yellow colour discrimination is impaired in ADHD individuals. However, the relationship between colour and performance has not been investigated. This paper describes the development and the testing of a virtual environment that is capable to quantify the influence of red-green versus blue-yellow colour stimuli on the performance of people in a fun and interactive way, being appropriate for the target audience.


An interactive computer game based on virtual reality was developed to evaluate the performance of the players.The game's storyline was based on the story of an old pirate who runs across islands and dangerous seas in search of a lost treasure. Within the game, the player must find and interpret the hints scattered in different scenarios. Two versions of this game were implemented. In the first, hints and information boards were painted using red and green colours. In the second version, these objects were painted using blue and yellow colours. For modelling, texturing, and animating virtual characters and objects the three-dimensional computer graphics tool Blender 3D was used. The textures were created with the GIMP editor to provide visual effects increasing the realism and immersion of the players. The games were tested on 20 non-ADHD volunteers who were divided into two subgroups (A1 and A2) and 20 volunteers with ADHD who were divided into subgroups B1 and B2. Subgroups A1 and B1 used the first version of the game with the hints painted in green-red colors, and subgroups A2 and B2 the second version using the same hints now painted in blue-yellow. The time spent to complete each task of the game was measured.


Data analyzed with ANOVA two-way and posthoc TUKEY LSD showed that the use of blue/yellow instead of green/red colors decreased the game performance of all participants. However, a greater decrease in performance could be observed with ADHD participants where tasks, that require attention, were most affected.


The game proved to be a user-friendly tool capable to detect and quantify the influence of color on the performance of people executing tasks that require attention and showed to be attractive for people with ADHD.

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