Hyperacuity thresholds of 1 sec: theoretical predictions and empirical validation

J Opt Soc Am A. 1985 Jul;2(7):1170-90. doi: 10.1364/josaa.2.001170.


Bisection thresholds were measured as a function of the separation of the lines. For separations of less than 1.5 min, the addition of flanking lines facilitates bisection so that thresholds of less than 1 sec for discriminating the direction of offset could be reliably obtained. For larger separations an interval could be bisected to an accuracy of 1 part in 60. Experiments varying the length, luminance, and overlap of the lines suggest that different cues are used in these two regimes. A dual space-size analysis is presented that can account for these bisection thresholds over a wide range of experimental conditions. This quantitative analysis produces viewprints of the stimuli (analogous to the voiceprint of audition). Each viewprint shows the output of many spatial filters of different positions and sizes. A new filter shape is introduced that has advantages for modeling the visual system. The sensitivity of each filter is fixed by the contrast-response function. The analysis further shows that the limiting factors in spatial hyperacuity are both the contrast-response function and the spatial grain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Probability
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity*