Abstract

The eye fixates on a stationary point at the center of a pattern consisting of alternate stripes of two different wavelengths of light. The pattern exhibits quick, lateral displacements so that each point on the observer’s stationary retina is exposed first to one wavelength, then to the other, then back to the first, and so on for several hundred repetitions. A conventional corneal electrode, together with amplifying equipment and a computer of average transients, provides cumulated records of the electrical responses of the eye to these wavelength shifts. The striped pattern is used to present pairs of monochromatic lights throughout the visible spectrum, the energy of each individual monochromatic light being carefully adjusted so as to be capable of producing a constant amplitude of electrical response from the eye.

Alternation between two such monochromatic lights yields electrical responses, the amplitudes of which are related to the difference in wavelength between the two lights. We have found that the algebraic sums of output functions of three color response mechanisms provide a reasonably good fit to the measured amplitudes of response. We conclude that wavelength changes arouse responses, at the retinal level, that are consistent with a simple, additive trichromatic theory.

© 1966 Optical Society of America

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