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Luminance artifacts of cathode-ray tube displays for vision research

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Phosphor persistence, video bandwidth, DC restoration and high-voltage regulation affect the appearance of images presented on cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), potentially resulting in differences between nominal and actual stimuli. We illustrate these effects by measuring physical parameters of horizontal and vertical static and counter-phase flickering gratings, and we illustrate problems for vision research by measuring contrast sensitivity to these gratings. We also measured the extent to which calibration protocols actually result in the monitor being calibrated over its entire area regardless of image size. The results of our physical measurements indicate substantial differences between gratings that nominally differ only as to orientation. Consistent with these differences, our psychophysical measurements indicate different sensitivities when the bars of the gratings are parallel or orthogonal to raster lines, regardless of the retinal orientation of the gratings. The results of our calibration check show that only a small region around the target area of calibration can be regarded as effectively linearized, and only if the size of the test image used during the check is similar to the size of the calibration patch. Overall, our results indicate potentially severe problems with the use of CRTs in vision research, and we discuss some published results that are likely to have been affected by these problems.

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Metodología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Complutense, Campus de Somosaguas, 28223 Madrid, Spain; 2: The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA

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