Investigations into visual hyperacuity

  • David MacVeigh

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Visual hyperacuities.are a group of thresholds whose values surpass that expected by the anatomical and optical constraints of the eye. There are many variables which affect hyperacuities of which this thesis considers the following ..
1. The effect of contrast on displacement detection and bisection acuity. It is
proposed that spatial summation may account for the different response of these two hyperacuities compared with the contrast response of vernier acuity.
2. The effect of references on displacement detection. These were shown to
greatly enhance performance when present. Their effect was, however,
dependent upon the temporal characteristics of the displacement.
3. The effect of spatial frequency on vernier acuity. Evidence from this
experiment suggests that vernier performance can be explained on the basis of
the output of orientationally selective spatial frequency filters.
4. Evidence for a weighting function for visual location using random dot clusters. The weighting attached to different parts of the retinal light distribution was found to alter non-linearly with increasing offset from the geometric center of the cluster. A relationship between dot density and peak amplitude of the weighting function was found.
5. Spatial scaling of vernier acuity in the peripheral field. With careful choice of
a technique which did not allow separation and eccentricity to co-vary it was
found possible to scale vernier acuity both for two lines and two separated dots.
6. The effect of increasing age on hyperacuity. No change in vernier acuity with
age was found which contrasted with displacement detection and bisection
acuity both of which showed a significant decline with increasing age.
Date of AwardSept 1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDavid Whitaker (Supervisor)


  • hyperacuity
  • contrast
  • spatio-temporal parameters
  • eccentricity
  • age

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