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THEORY AND MEASUREMENT OF VISUAL MECHANISMS : III. ΔI AS A FUNCTION OF AREA, INTENSITY, AND WAVE-LENGTH, FOR MONOCULAR AND BINOCULAR STIMULATION

Authors
Journal
The Journal of General Physiology
0022-1295
Publisher
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Article

Abstract

Measurements of ΔI as a function of retinal area illuminated have been obtained at various levels of standard intensity I1, using "white" light and light of three modal wave-lengths (λ465, 525, 680), for monocular stimulation and for simultaneous excitation of the two eyes ("binocular"), using several methods of varying (rectangular) area and retinal location, with control of exposure time. For data homogeneous with respect to method of presentation, log ΔIm = -Z log A + C, where ΔI = Ĩ2 – I1, A is area illuminated, and C is a terminal constant (= log ΔIm for A = 1 unit) depending on the units in which ΔI and A are expressed, and upon I1. The equation is readily deduced on dimensional grounds, without reference to specific theories of the nature of ΔI or of retinal area in terms of its excitable units. Z is independent of the units of I and A. Experimentally it is found to be the same for monocular and binocular excitations, as is to be expected. Also as is expected it is not independent of λ, and it is markedly influenced by the scheme according to which A is varied; it depends directly upon the rate at which potentially excitable elements are added when A is made to increase. For simultaneous excitation of the two eyes (when of very nearly equivalent excitability), ΔĪB is less than for stimulation of either eye alone, at all levels of I1, A, λ. The mean ratio (ΔĪL + ΔĪR)/2 to ΔIB was 1.38. For white light, doubling A on one retina reduces ΔIm in the ratio 1.21, or a little less than for binocular presentation under the same conditions. These facts are consistent with the view that the properties of ΔI are quantitatively determined by events central to the retina. The measure σ1ΔI of organic variation in discrimination of intensities and ΔIm are found to be in simple proportion, independent of I1, A, λ (and exposure time). Variability (σ1ΔI) is not a function of the mode of presentation, save that it may be slightly higher when both retinas are excited, and its magnitude (for a given level of ΔIm) is independent of the law according to which the adjustable intensity I2 is instrumentally controlled.

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