Abstract

Contrast detection thresholds for moving sine wave gratings were obtained at the fovea and at eccentricities of 6°, 21°, and 50° on the nasal horizontal meridian. The targets subtended from 30 × 30 minutes of arc up to 16° × 16°. We have found that the contrast detection thresholds depend critically on the extent of the target field. If this extent is large enough peripheral detection thresholds are on a par with those measured at the fovea, only the sensitivity range is shifted to lower spatial frequencies. We show that if the just resolvable distance at any eccentricity is taken as a yardstick, and field width and spatial frequency are scaled accordingly, then the spatio-temporal contrast detection thresholds become identical over the whole visual field. It is shown that a smallest area, measuring several just resolvable distances across, has to be stimulated before successive or simultaneous contrast detection is possible at all. Detection performance improves if the stimulated area is enlarged up to diameters of at least 102 just resolvable distances. The just resolvable distance correlates well with mean interganglion cell distance, and with the cortical magnification factor.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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