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Vision Res. 1987;27(2):277-84.

Flicker adaptation in the peripheral retina.


With strict fixation, a flickering light spot smaller than 3 deg presented to the peripheral retina will rapidly appear to lose contrast and stop flickering within 35 s, before fading away completely. The time required for this adaptation to occur decreases with: decreasing depth of modulation (97-9%); decreasing stimulus diameter (2 deg-7 min arc); increasing retinal eccentricity (20-50 deg); and increasing flicker frequency (1-7 Hz). Interestingly, the effect does not depend upon the regularity of the flickering stimulus, and it occurs twice as fast for stimuli presented to the temporal retina as for stimuli presented to the nasal retina. When changes in retinal eccentricity are compensated for by taking into account the cortical magnification factor, the time needed for perceived flicker to disappear remains constant at all eccentricities. With dichoptic stimulation interocular transfer is about 35%, suggesting a cortical contribution to flicker adaptation. The results indicate that the visual system adapts rather easily to peripheral flickering stimuli. Similarities as well as differences to motion adaptation are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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