Abstract

Frequency-of-seeing curves have been obtained for targets having various image perimeters at background brightnesses of 2950 and 17.5 foot-lamberts, respectively. A description of the data has been obtained on the basis of the assumption that the absorption of a light quantum by a foveal cone is a random event which is subject to the laws of chance. On this basis the data indicate that the detection of a target takes place across the image boundary; that in order to detect the target, at least one of the cones along the boundary must absorb at least 4 quanta, and that this critical number of quanta is the same for each of the two background brightnesses investigated. At the higher brightnesses, this critical number of quanta absorbed from the target is about equal to the random fluctuation to be expected in the number absorbed from the background during the critical time of one exposure.

© 1948 Optical Society of America

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