Abstract

An experimental determination was made of absolute visual thresholds in the human fovea. An apparatus permitting independent variation of area and exposure time, and having a fixation device that minimally affects the adaptation level of the region under investigation was used. Seven stimulus areas, ranging from 1 minute to 1 degree in diameter were presented to 4 subjects at durations of 1.1, 3.8, 10.0, and 48.0 milliseconds. The results show that all area-threshold functions depart from Ricco’s law. The functions which were obtained depart from linearity, while the degree of curvature varies among subjects. As exposure time is increased there is a regular related decrease in thresholds for all stimuli. This decrease in threshold is in good agreement with the Bunson-Roscoe law, which states that the product of time and intensity is a constant.

© 1958 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. W. Nagel in Helmholtz’Treatise on Physiological Optics, translated from 3rd German Edition, Vol. II, “The Sensations of Vision” (Optical Society of America, New York, 1924).
  2. H. Piéron, Ann. psychol. 30, 87 (1929).
    [Crossref]
  3. Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  4. E. Baumgardt, J. Gen. Physiol. 31, 269 (1948).
  5. E. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  6. R. Houstoun, Vision and Colour Vision (Longmans, Green, London, 1932), pp. 49–51.
  7. C. Graham and N. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  8. H. Karn, J. Gen. Psychol. 14, 360 (1936).
    [Crossref]
  9. H. Sperling, (May20, 1957).
  10. B. O’Brien and N. Miller, (May, 1953).
  11. G. Wald, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 269 (1938).

1950 (1)

E. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

1948 (1)

E. Baumgardt, J. Gen. Physiol. 31, 269 (1948).

1939 (2)

C. Graham and N. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
[Crossref]

1938 (1)

G. Wald, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 269 (1938).

1936 (1)

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

1929 (1)

H. Piéron, Ann. psychol. 30, 87 (1929).
[Crossref]

Bartlett, N.

C. Graham and N. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

Baumgardt, E.

E. Baumgardt, J. Gen. Physiol. 31, 269 (1948).

Brown,

Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
[Crossref]

Graham,

Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
[Crossref]

Graham, C.

C. Graham and N. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

Helmholtz,

W. Nagel in Helmholtz’Treatise on Physiological Optics, translated from 3rd German Edition, Vol. II, “The Sensations of Vision” (Optical Society of America, New York, 1924).

Houstoun, R.

R. Houstoun, Vision and Colour Vision (Longmans, Green, London, 1932), pp. 49–51.

Karn, H.

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

Miller, N.

B. O’Brien and N. Miller, (May, 1953).

Mote,

Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
[Crossref]

Nagel, W.

W. Nagel in Helmholtz’Treatise on Physiological Optics, translated from 3rd German Edition, Vol. II, “The Sensations of Vision” (Optical Society of America, New York, 1924).

O’Brien, B.

B. O’Brien and N. Miller, (May, 1953).

Piéron, H.

H. Piéron, Ann. psychol. 30, 87 (1929).
[Crossref]

Sperling, H.

H. Sperling, (May20, 1957).

Wald, G.

G. Wald, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 269 (1938).

Willmer, E.

E. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

Ann. psychol. (1)

H. Piéron, Ann. psychol. 30, 87 (1929).
[Crossref]

J. Exptl. Psychol. (2)

Graham, Brown, and Mote, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 555 (1939).
[Crossref]

C. Graham and N. Bartlett, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 574 (1939).
[Crossref]

J. Gen. Physiol. (2)

E. Baumgardt, J. Gen. Physiol. 31, 269 (1948).

G. Wald, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 269 (1938).

J. Gen. Psychol. (1)

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

Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. (1)

E. Willmer, Quart. J. Exptl. Psychol. 2, 53 (1950).
[Crossref]

Other (4)

R. Houstoun, Vision and Colour Vision (Longmans, Green, London, 1932), pp. 49–51.

H. Sperling, (May20, 1957).

B. O’Brien and N. Miller, (May, 1953).

W. Nagel in Helmholtz’Treatise on Physiological Optics, translated from 3rd German Edition, Vol. II, “The Sensations of Vision” (Optical Society of America, New York, 1924).

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Figures (7)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

A diagrammatic representation of the apparatus.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Area-intensity curves for subject RMH. Dashed line represents Ricco’s law.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Area-intensity curves for subject BMH. Dashed line represents Ricco’s law.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Area-intensity curves for subject WGL. Dashed line represents Ricco’s law.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Area-intensity curves for subject HGS. Dashed line represents Ricco’s law.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Intensity-time curves for the average thresholds of RMH, BMH, and WGL.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

A comparison of thresholds plotted against constant density with those plotted against the number of receptors per area based on the data of O’Brien and Miller.10

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table I Absolute thresholds in millilamberts for four subjects.