Foveal light adaptation has been investigated as a function of wavelength by the luminance discrimination method using three nearly monochromatic lights (red, green, and blue) employed in all possible adapting stimulus-test flash combinations. Subjects viewed two fields of light. The larger subtended 4°, 44′ (the adapting stimulus), and the smaller subtended 47′ (the test flash) and was superimposed upon the adapting stimulus.
The data indicate that:
- (1) The largest selective effect of wavelength occurred from 0.00 to +0.05 sec, where the following results were obtained: (a) The greatest adaptive effects uniformly occurred for monochromatic combinations. (b) A lesser effect occurred for heterochromatic combinations.
- (2) These selective effects were in the same direction but greatly reduced after fifteen minutes of adaptation.
- (3) Both as a test flash and as an adapting stimulus, the blue acted as if it were transmitting more luminous flux than it actually was.
- (4) Light adaptation under these experimental conditions was virtually complete after thirty seconds of adaptation.
The results seem to indicate that the degree of interaction between groups of neural elements which react selectively to various wavelengths is reflected in the psychophysical changes in thresholds reported in this study. In addition, the striking differences in the contributions of the blue mechanism to luminance and to chromaticness have also been reflected in the psychophysical data.
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