1. Direct measurements of the minimum energy required for threshold vision under optimal physiological conditions yield values between 2.1 and 5.7 x 10 –10 ergs at the cornea, which correspond to between 54 and 148 quanta of blue-green light. 2. These values are at the cornea. To yield physiologically significant data they must be corrected for corneal reflection, which is 4 per cent; for ocular media absorption, which is almost precisely 50 per cent; and for retinal transmission, which is at least 80 per cent. Retinal transmission is derived from previous direct measurements and from new comparisons between the percentage absorption spectrum of visual purple with the dim-vision luminosity function. With these three corrections, the range of 54 to 148 quanta at the cornea becomes as an upper limit 5 to 14 quanta actually absorbed by the retinal rods. 3. This small number of quanta, in comparison with the large number of rods (500) involved, precludes any significant two quantum absorptions per rod, and means that in order to produce a visual effect, one quantum must be absorbed by each of 5 to 14 rods in the retina. 4. Because this number of individual events is so small, it may be derived from an independent statistical study of the relation between the intensity of a light flash and the frequency with which it is seen. Such experiments give values of 5 to 8 for the number of critical events involved at the threshold of vision. Biological variation does not alter these numbers essentially, and the agreement between the values measured directly and those derived from statistical considerations is therefore significant. 5. The results clarify the nature of the fluctuations shown by an organism in response to a stimulus. The general assumption has been that the stimulus is constant and the organism variable. The present considerations show, however, that at the threshold it is the stimulus which is variable, and that the properties of its variation determine the fluctuations found between response and stimulus. Footnotes Submitted: 30 March 1942
The Journal of General Physiology – Rockefeller University Press
Published: Jul 20, 1942
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera