1. A new apparatus is described for measuring visual intensity discrimination over a large range of intensities, with white light and with selected portions of the spectrum. With it measurements were made of the intensity Δ I which is just perceptible when it is added for a short time to a portion of a field of intensity I to which the eye has been adapted. 2. For white and for all colors the fraction Δ I/I decreases as I increases and reaches an asymptotic minimum value at high values of I . In addition, with white light the relation between Δ I/I and I shows two sections, one at low intensities and the other at high intensities, the two being separated by an abrupt transition. These findings are contrary to the generally accepted measurements of Koenig and Brodhun; however, they confirm the recent work of Steinhardt, as well as the older work of Blanchard and of Aubert. The abrupt transition is in keeping with the Duplicity theory which attributes the two sections to the functions of the rods and cones respectively. 3. Measurements with five parts of the spectrum amplify these relationships in terms of the different spectral sensibilities of the rods and cones. With extreme red light the relation of Δ I/I to I shows only a high intensity section corresponding to cone function, while with other colors the low intensity rod section appears and increases in extent as the light used moves toward the violet end of the spectrum. 4. Like most of the previously published data from various sources, the present numerical data are all described with precision by the theory which supposes that intensity discrimination is determined by the initial photochemical and chemical events in the rods and cones. Footnotes Accepted: 26 April 1938
The Journal of General Physiology – Rockefeller University Press
Published: Sep 20, 1938
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