Abstract

When a single brief light pulse follows the offset of an inducer light field, the single pulse is seen as two (or more) flashes: this is the double-flash effect. Measurements of the strength of the effect as a function of the frequency of a flickering inducer field have revealed a high illuminance threshold and a strongly bandpass complex structure containing several peaks [ J. Opt. Sci. Am. A 4, 746– 755 ( 1987)]. A linear-oscillator model may account for one peak but not for multiple peaks; furthermore, the high illuminance threshold is expected to introduce nonlinearity. We therefore base our analysis of the resonance structure on a nonlinear-oscillator model, and we argue that its leading term is cubic. The model accounts in a parsimonious way for all the double-flash results, it correctly predicts a shift in peak frequencies from ordinary threshold flicker effects, and, finally, it corroborates claims that the response of the visual system to suprathreshold stimuli is oscillatory rather than biphasic.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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