Abstract

Two experiments are reported. The first experiment studies the intensity-duration function for peripheral threshold stimulation of the human eye, over a range of durations from 0.02 second to 0.24 second. The form of the flashes presented involves a rapid onset and cessation (i.e., a nearly rectangular wave). The second experiment determines the total energy required for threshold excitation for flashes of various wave forms (i.e., with different onset and cessation times), the maximum duration always being below the critical duration obtained in the first experiment.

The results of the first experiment agree with previous studies in showing that below a certain critical duration the product of light intensity and duration is constant. Above this critical duration the intensity remains constant. The transition from the relationship It=C to I=Const. is abrupt and occurs at 0.10 second.

The results of the second experiment indicate that changes in the wave form, within the limits of variation introduced, do not affect the total amount of energy required for threshold below the limit of a critical duration. These findings give additional generality to the Bunsen-Roscoe law and to the view that the essential element in producing a constant effect in response to flashes of light is the total energy of the stimulus.

© 1951 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. A. M. Bloch, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 2, 493 (1885).
  2. E. P. Braunstein, Z. Sinnesphysiol. 55, 185 (1923).
  3. H. Pieron, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 83, 1072 (1920).
  4. W. McDougall, Brit. J. Psychol. 1, 151 (1904–1905).
  5. A. Blondel and J. Rey, J. phys. et radium 1, 530 (1911).
  6. H. K. Hartline, J. Cell, and Compt. Physiol. 5, 229 (1934).
    [Crossref]
  7. C. H. Graham and R. Margaria, Am. J. Physiol. 113, 299 (1934).
  8. H. W. Karn, J. Gen. Psychol. 14, 360 (1936).
    [Crossref]
  9. R. O. Rouse, Am. Psychologist 5, 266 (1950).
  10. E. Baumgardt, Rev. optique 28, 661 (1949).
  11. J. P. Guilford, Psychometric Methods (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1936).

1950 (1)

R. O. Rouse, Am. Psychologist 5, 266 (1950).

1949 (1)

E. Baumgardt, Rev. optique 28, 661 (1949).

1936 (1)

H. W. Karn, J. Gen. Psychol. 14, 360 (1936).
[Crossref]

1934 (2)

H. K. Hartline, J. Cell, and Compt. Physiol. 5, 229 (1934).
[Crossref]

C. H. Graham and R. Margaria, Am. J. Physiol. 113, 299 (1934).

1923 (1)

E. P. Braunstein, Z. Sinnesphysiol. 55, 185 (1923).

1920 (1)

H. Pieron, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 83, 1072 (1920).

1911 (1)

A. Blondel and J. Rey, J. phys. et radium 1, 530 (1911).

1885 (1)

A. M. Bloch, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 2, 493 (1885).

Baumgardt, E.

E. Baumgardt, Rev. optique 28, 661 (1949).

Bloch, A. M.

A. M. Bloch, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 2, 493 (1885).

Blondel, A.

A. Blondel and J. Rey, J. phys. et radium 1, 530 (1911).

Braunstein, E. P.

E. P. Braunstein, Z. Sinnesphysiol. 55, 185 (1923).

Graham, C. H.

C. H. Graham and R. Margaria, Am. J. Physiol. 113, 299 (1934).

Guilford, J. P.

J. P. Guilford, Psychometric Methods (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1936).

Hartline, H. K.

H. K. Hartline, J. Cell, and Compt. Physiol. 5, 229 (1934).
[Crossref]

Karn, H. W.

H. W. Karn, J. Gen. Psychol. 14, 360 (1936).
[Crossref]

Margaria, R.

C. H. Graham and R. Margaria, Am. J. Physiol. 113, 299 (1934).

McDougall, W.

W. McDougall, Brit. J. Psychol. 1, 151 (1904–1905).

Pieron, H.

H. Pieron, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 83, 1072 (1920).

Rey, J.

A. Blondel and J. Rey, J. phys. et radium 1, 530 (1911).

Rouse, R. O.

R. O. Rouse, Am. Psychologist 5, 266 (1950).

Am. J. Physiol. (1)

C. H. Graham and R. Margaria, Am. J. Physiol. 113, 299 (1934).

Am. Psychologist (1)

R. O. Rouse, Am. Psychologist 5, 266 (1950).

Brit. J. Psychol. (1)

W. McDougall, Brit. J. Psychol. 1, 151 (1904–1905).

Compt. rend. soc. biol. (2)

A. M. Bloch, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 2, 493 (1885).

H. Pieron, Compt. rend. soc. biol. 83, 1072 (1920).

J. Cell, and Compt. Physiol. (1)

H. K. Hartline, J. Cell, and Compt. Physiol. 5, 229 (1934).
[Crossref]

J. Gen. Psychol. (1)

H. W. Karn, J. Gen. Psychol. 14, 360 (1936).
[Crossref]

J. phys. et radium (1)

A. Blondel and J. Rey, J. phys. et radium 1, 530 (1911).

Rev. optique (1)

E. Baumgardt, Rev. optique 28, 661 (1949).

Z. Sinnesphysiol. (1)

E. P. Braunstein, Z. Sinnesphysiol. 55, 185 (1923).

Other (1)

J. P. Guilford, Psychometric Methods (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1936).

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Curves showing wave form of flash. Intensity is plotted against time for four of the stimulus flashes used in Experiment II. The curve showing the most rapid rate of increase in intensity represents the wave form of the flash given when the angle of the slit in the light housing was zero degrees with respect to the vertical. The other curves, in order of decreasing rate, were obtained when the angle of the slit was 30, 60, and 90 degrees.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

The intensity-time curve obtained in Experiment I showing the logarithm of the product of intensity and duration, It, required for threshold as a function of the logarithm of the duration, t, of the stimulus.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Curves obtained in Experiment II showing the logarithm of the energy, E, required for the stimulus to reach maximum intensity (see the curves of Fig. 1).

Tables (2)

Tables Icon

Table I Log It values obtained in Experiment I. Intensities are in millilamberts.

Tables Icon

Table II Log E values obtained in Experiment II. E is in units of millilambert seconds.