Retinal adaptation of visual processing time delays

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  • University of Oxford
  • Radcliffe Infirmary


A significant proportion of the processing delays within the visual system are luminance dependent. Thus placing an attenuating filter over one eye causes a temporal delay between the eyes and thus an illusion of motion in depth for objects moving in the fronto-parallel plane, known as the Pulfrich effect. We have used this effect to study adaptation to such an interocular delay in two normal subjects wearing 75% attenuating neutral density filters over one eye. In two separate experimental periods both subjects showed about 60% adaptation over 9 days. Reciprocal effects were seen on removal of the filters. To isolate the site of adaptation we also measured the subjects' flicker fusion frequencies (FFFs) and contrast sensitivity functions (CSFs). Both subjects showed significant adaptation in their FFFs. An attempt to model the Pulfrich and FFF adaptation curves with a change in a single parameter in Kelly's [(1971) Journal of the Optical Society of America, 71, 537-546] retinal model was only partially successful. Although we have demonstrated adaptation in normal subjects to induced time delays in the visual system we postulate that this may at least partly represent retinal adaptation to the change in mean luminance.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1421-1430
Number of pages10
JournalVision Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993


  • Adaptation, Depth perception, Flicker, Latency, Pulfrich effect

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