Abstract

How brief can a visual stimulus be and still be seen? To answer this question, we developed a digital micromirror device (DMD) based system operating at high speed (22.7 kHz) to control the rapid presentation of visual stimuli and estimated the minimum time required to identify the orientation of tumbling Snellen E letters. Time thresholds were measured in five subjects using a QUEST algorithm to vary the presentation time of the letters subtending either 0.75°, 1.5° and 4.5° on the retina, for two different effective pupil sizes (0.3 and 1 mm). Additionally, to evaluate the effect of defocus on time thresholds, the experiment was repeated with 1.5° letters and induced myopic defocus with 3, 6 and 9 D trial lenses placed in a conjugated pupil plane. We found that subjects were able to identify the orientation of the letters presented as briefly as 5 ms.

© 2018 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement

Full Article  |  PDF Article
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References

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2018 (1)

2016 (2)

2015 (2)

2014 (1)

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2012 (1)

A. Petersen and T. S. Andersen, “The effect of exposure duration on visual character identification in single, whole, and partial report,” J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 38(2), 498–514 (2012).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2010 (1)

G. F. Woodman, “A brief introduction to the use of event-related potentials in studies of perception and attention,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 72(8), 2031–2046 (2010).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2009 (1)

A. O. Holcombe, “Seeing slow and seeing fast: two limits on perception,” Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 13(5), 216–221 (2009).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2008 (1)

M. Milders, A. Sahraie, and S. Logan, “Minimum presentation time for masked facial expression discrimination,” Cogn. Emotion 22(1), 63–82 (2008).
[Crossref]

2007 (1)

S. Kouider and S. Dehaene, “Levels of processing during non-conscious perception: a critical review of visual masking,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 362(1481), 857–875 (2007).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2006 (2)

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

P. J. Holcomb and J. Grainger, “On the time course of visual word recognition: an event-related potential investigation using masked repetition priming,” J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18(10), 1631–1643 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

2005 (1)

M. Calvo and F. Esteves, “Detection of emotional faces: Low perceptual threshold and wide attentional span,” Vis. Cogn. 12(1), 13–27 (2005).
[Crossref]

2004 (1)

J. Maxwell and R. Davidson, “Unequally masked: Indexing differences in the perceptual salience of” unseen” facial expressions,” Cogn. Emotion\& Emotion 18(8), 1009–1026 (2004).
[Crossref]

1999 (1)

C. Bundesen and L. Harms, “Single-letter recognition as a function of exposure duration,” Psychol. Res. 62(4), 275–279 (1999).
[Crossref]

1997 (1)

D. H. Brainard, “The Psychophysics Toolbox,” Spat. Vis. 10(4), 433–436 (1997).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1995 (1)

S. Wu, S. A. Burns, and A. E. Elsner, “Effects of flicker adaptation and temporal gain control on the flicker ERG,” Vision Res. 35(21), 2943–2953 (1995).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1984 (2)

P. Fraisse, “Perception and estimation of time,” Annu. Rev. Psychol. 35(1), 1–37 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

G. Kirouac and F. Y. Doré, “Judgment of facial expressions of emotion as a function of exposure time,” Percept. Mot. Skills 59(1), 147–150 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1980 (1)

G. M. Long and R. J. Beaton, “The contribution of visual persistence to the perceived duration of brief targets,” Percept. & Psychophys. 28(5), 422–430 (1980).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1979 (1)

P. Fraisse, “Influence de la durée du traitement de l’information sur l’estimation d’une durée d’une seconde,” Annee Psychol. 79(2), 495–504 (1979).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1976 (1)

E. A. C. Thomas and N. E. Cantor, “Simultaneous time and size perception,” Percept.& Psychophys. 19(4), 353–360 (1976).
[Crossref]

1975 (2)

E. A. C. Thomas and W. B. Weaver, “Cognitive processing and time perception,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 17(4), 363–367 (1975).
[Crossref]

L. G. Allan, “Temporal order psychometric functions based on confidence-rating data,” Attention, Perception, \& Psychophysics 18(5), 369–372 (1975).
[Crossref]

1961 (1)

1885 (1)

M. A.-M. Bloch, “Expériences sur la vision,” Société de biologie (France). C. R. Seances Soc. Biol. Fil. 1885, 493–495 (1885).

Allan, L. G.

L. G. Allan, “Temporal order psychometric functions based on confidence-rating data,” Attention, Perception, \& Psychophysics 18(5), 369–372 (1975).
[Crossref]

Andersen, T. S.

A. Petersen and T. S. Andersen, “The effect of exposure duration on visual character identification in single, whole, and partial report,” J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 38(2), 498–514 (2012).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Artal, P.

Baumgardt, E.

Beaton, R. J.

G. M. Long and R. J. Beaton, “The contribution of visual persistence to the perceived duration of brief targets,” Percept. & Psychophys. 28(5), 422–430 (1980).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Bloch, M. A.-M.

M. A.-M. Bloch, “Expériences sur la vision,” Société de biologie (France). C. R. Seances Soc. Biol. Fil. 1885, 493–495 (1885).

Braaf, B.

Brainard, D. H.

D. H. Brainard, “The Psychophysics Toolbox,” Spat. Vis. 10(4), 433–436 (1997).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Bundesen, C.

C. Bundesen and L. Harms, “Single-letter recognition as a function of exposure duration,” Psychol. Res. 62(4), 275–279 (1999).
[Crossref]

Burns, S. A.

Calvo, M.

M. Calvo and F. Esteves, “Detection of emotional faces: Low perceptual threshold and wide attentional span,” Vis. Cogn. 12(1), 13–27 (2005).
[Crossref]

Cantor, N. E.

E. A. C. Thomas and N. E. Cantor, “Simultaneous time and size perception,” Percept.& Psychophys. 19(4), 353–360 (1976).
[Crossref]

Damodaran, M.

Davidson, R.

J. Maxwell and R. Davidson, “Unequally masked: Indexing differences in the perceptual salience of” unseen” facial expressions,” Cogn. Emotion\& Emotion 18(8), 1009–1026 (2004).
[Crossref]

Davis, M. H.

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

de Boer, J. F.

de Castro, A.

Dehaene, S.

S. Kouider and S. Dehaene, “Levels of processing during non-conscious perception: a critical review of visual masking,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 362(1481), 857–875 (2007).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Doré, F. Y.

G. Kirouac and F. Y. Doré, “Judgment of facial expressions of emotion as a function of exposure time,” Percept. Mot. Skills 59(1), 147–150 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Elsner, A. E.

S. Wu, S. A. Burns, and A. E. Elsner, “Effects of flicker adaptation and temporal gain control on the flicker ERG,” Vision Res. 35(21), 2943–2953 (1995).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Esteves, F.

M. Calvo and F. Esteves, “Detection of emotional faces: Low perceptual threshold and wide attentional span,” Vis. Cogn. 12(1), 13–27 (2005).
[Crossref]

Ford, M.

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Fraisse, P.

P. Fraisse, “Perception and estimation of time,” Annu. Rev. Psychol. 35(1), 1–37 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

P. Fraisse, “Influence de la durée du traitement de l’information sur l’estimation d’une durée d’une seconde,” Annee Psychol. 79(2), 495–504 (1979).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Gambín, A.

Gorea, A.

A. Gorea, “A Refresher of the Original Bloch’s Law Paper (Bloch, July 1885),” Iperception 6(4), 2041669515593043 (2015).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Grainger, J.

P. J. Holcomb and J. Grainger, “On the time course of visual word recognition: an event-related potential investigation using masked repetition priming,” J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18(10), 1631–1643 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Gu, B.

Hagmann, C. E.

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Harms, L.

C. Bundesen and L. Harms, “Single-letter recognition as a function of exposure duration,” Psychol. Res. 62(4), 275–279 (1999).
[Crossref]

Hauk, O.

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Hillmann, B.

Holcomb, P. J.

P. J. Holcomb and J. Grainger, “On the time course of visual word recognition: an event-related potential investigation using masked repetition priming,” J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18(10), 1631–1643 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Holcombe, A. O.

A. O. Holcombe, “Seeing slow and seeing fast: two limits on perception,” Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 13(5), 216–221 (2009).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Irles, E.

Kirouac, G.

G. Kirouac and F. Y. Doré, “Judgment of facial expressions of emotion as a function of exposure time,” Percept. Mot. Skills 59(1), 147–150 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Kouider, S.

S. Kouider and S. Dehaene, “Levels of processing during non-conscious perception: a critical review of visual masking,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 362(1481), 857–875 (2007).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Lancis, J.

Lochocki, B.

Logan, S.

M. Milders, A. Sahraie, and S. Logan, “Minimum presentation time for masked facial expression discrimination,” Cogn. Emotion 22(1), 63–82 (2008).
[Crossref]

Long, G. M.

G. M. Long and R. J. Beaton, “The contribution of visual persistence to the perceived duration of brief targets,” Percept. & Psychophys. 28(5), 422–430 (1980).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Lu, J.

Luo, T.

Manzanera, S.

Marslen-Wilson, W. D.

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Maxwell, J.

J. Maxwell and R. Davidson, “Unequally masked: Indexing differences in the perceptual salience of” unseen” facial expressions,” Cogn. Emotion\& Emotion 18(8), 1009–1026 (2004).
[Crossref]

McCourt, E. S.

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Milders, M.

M. Milders, A. Sahraie, and S. Logan, “Minimum presentation time for masked facial expression discrimination,” Cogn. Emotion 22(1), 63–82 (2008).
[Crossref]

Petersen, A.

A. Petersen and T. S. Andersen, “The effect of exposure duration on visual character identification in single, whole, and partial report,” J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 38(2), 498–514 (2012).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Potter, M. C.

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Pulvermüller, F.

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Sahraie, A.

M. Milders, A. Sahraie, and S. Logan, “Minimum presentation time for masked facial expression discrimination,” Cogn. Emotion 22(1), 63–82 (2008).
[Crossref]

Sapoznik, K. A.

Sawides, L.

Tajahuerce, E.

Thomas, E. A. C.

E. A. C. Thomas and N. E. Cantor, “Simultaneous time and size perception,” Percept.& Psychophys. 19(4), 353–360 (1976).
[Crossref]

E. A. C. Thomas and W. B. Weaver, “Cognitive processing and time perception,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 17(4), 363–367 (1975).
[Crossref]

Vermeer, K. A.

Vienola, K. V.

Wang, X.

Warner, R. L.

Weaver, W. B.

E. A. C. Thomas and W. B. Weaver, “Cognitive processing and time perception,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 17(4), 363–367 (1975).
[Crossref]

Woodman, G. F.

G. F. Woodman, “A brief introduction to the use of event-related potentials in studies of perception and attention,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 72(8), 2031–2046 (2010).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Wu, S.

S. Wu, S. A. Burns, and A. E. Elsner, “Effects of flicker adaptation and temporal gain control on the flicker ERG,” Vision Res. 35(21), 2943–2953 (1995).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Wyble, B.

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Zhang, Y.

Annee Psychol. (1)

P. Fraisse, “Influence de la durée du traitement de l’information sur l’estimation d’une durée d’une seconde,” Annee Psychol. 79(2), 495–504 (1979).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Annu. Rev. Psychol. (1)

P. Fraisse, “Perception and estimation of time,” Annu. Rev. Psychol. 35(1), 1–37 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Atten. Percept. Psychophys. (3)

G. F. Woodman, “A brief introduction to the use of event-related potentials in studies of perception and attention,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 72(8), 2031–2046 (2010).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

M. C. Potter, B. Wyble, C. E. Hagmann, and E. S. McCourt, “Detecting meaning in RSVP at 13 ms per picture,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 76(2), 270–279 (2014).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

E. A. C. Thomas and W. B. Weaver, “Cognitive processing and time perception,” Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 17(4), 363–367 (1975).
[Crossref]

Attention, Perception, \& Psychophysics (1)

L. G. Allan, “Temporal order psychometric functions based on confidence-rating data,” Attention, Perception, \& Psychophysics 18(5), 369–372 (1975).
[Crossref]

Biomed. Opt. Express (1)

Cogn. Emotion (1)

M. Milders, A. Sahraie, and S. Logan, “Minimum presentation time for masked facial expression discrimination,” Cogn. Emotion 22(1), 63–82 (2008).
[Crossref]

Cogn. Emotion\& Emotion (1)

J. Maxwell and R. Davidson, “Unequally masked: Indexing differences in the perceptual salience of” unseen” facial expressions,” Cogn. Emotion\& Emotion 18(8), 1009–1026 (2004).
[Crossref]

Iperception (1)

A. Gorea, “A Refresher of the Original Bloch’s Law Paper (Bloch, July 1885),” Iperception 6(4), 2041669515593043 (2015).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. Cogn. Neurosci. (1)

P. J. Holcomb and J. Grainger, “On the time course of visual word recognition: an event-related potential investigation using masked repetition priming,” J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18(10), 1631–1643 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. (1)

A. Petersen and T. S. Andersen, “The effect of exposure duration on visual character identification in single, whole, and partial report,” J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 38(2), 498–514 (2012).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Neuroimage (1)

O. Hauk, M. H. Davis, M. Ford, F. Pulvermüller, and W. D. Marslen-Wilson, “The time course of visual word recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data,” Neuroimage 30(4), 1383–1400 (2006).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Opt. Lett. (2)

Optica (1)

Percept. & Psychophys. (1)

G. M. Long and R. J. Beaton, “The contribution of visual persistence to the perceived duration of brief targets,” Percept. & Psychophys. 28(5), 422–430 (1980).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Percept. Mot. Skills (1)

G. Kirouac and F. Y. Doré, “Judgment of facial expressions of emotion as a function of exposure time,” Percept. Mot. Skills 59(1), 147–150 (1984).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Percept.& Psychophys. (1)

E. A. C. Thomas and N. E. Cantor, “Simultaneous time and size perception,” Percept.& Psychophys. 19(4), 353–360 (1976).
[Crossref]

Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. (1)

S. Kouider and S. Dehaene, “Levels of processing during non-conscious perception: a critical review of visual masking,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 362(1481), 857–875 (2007).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Psychol. Res. (1)

C. Bundesen and L. Harms, “Single-letter recognition as a function of exposure duration,” Psychol. Res. 62(4), 275–279 (1999).
[Crossref]

Société de biologie (France). C. R. Seances Soc. Biol. Fil. (1)

M. A.-M. Bloch, “Expériences sur la vision,” Société de biologie (France). C. R. Seances Soc. Biol. Fil. 1885, 493–495 (1885).

Spat. Vis. (1)

D. H. Brainard, “The Psychophysics Toolbox,” Spat. Vis. 10(4), 433–436 (1997).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) (1)

A. O. Holcombe, “Seeing slow and seeing fast: two limits on perception,” Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 13(5), 216–221 (2009).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Vis. Cogn. (1)

M. Calvo and F. Esteves, “Detection of emotional faces: Low perceptual threshold and wide attentional span,” Vis. Cogn. 12(1), 13–27 (2005).
[Crossref]

Vision Res. (1)

S. Wu, S. A. Burns, and A. E. Elsner, “Effects of flicker adaptation and temporal gain control on the flicker ERG,” Vision Res. 35(21), 2943–2953 (1995).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Other (1)

G. Fechner, Elemente der Psychophysikin (translated to English in 1966, Elements of Psychophysics. Volume I) (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1851).

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1 Optical system and image sequence used to produce a fast visual stimuli presentation. Upper row: Maxwellian view system with the DMD homogenously illuminated with a broadband Xenon lamp and a variable diaphragm, AP1, placed in a conjugated pupil plane to control the effective pupil size. Bottom row: Sequence of images uploaded on the DMD to control the presentation time (t) of the letter E. The sequence of images uploaded on the internal memory of the device contained 100 images, among them 10 white letters on black background. The frequency could be varied between a few images per second and 22.7 kHz which means that, in this configuration, at the highest switching rate of the DMD, the letter E is displayed for 0.44 ms.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2 Time threshold as a function letter size. Upper row: Time threshold measurements for the 5 participants and on average (green diamonds) across subjects for a 1 mm (A) and 0.3 mm (B) effective pupil size. Error bars stands for standard deviation from at least 3 repeated measurements in each condition. Lower row: Difference in the minimum time required to identify a 4.5° versus a 0.75° letter size as a function of subject’s refraction (absolute values). Data are for the 5 participants (black diamonds) and on average (green diamonds) across subjects for the 1mm (C) and 0.3 mm (D) effective pupil size.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3 Time thresholds as a function of induced myopic defocus with trial lenses of 3, 6 and 9D. Data are for the 5 subjects (S1 to S5) and on average (AV, green diamonds) across subjects for a 1mm (left panels) and 0.3mm (right panels) effective pupil size. Error bars stands for standard deviation from at least 3 repeated measurements in each condition.

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