Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 2–9 | Cite as

Oculomotor adjustments in darkness and the specific distance tendency

  • D. A. Owens
  • H. W. Leibowitz


Two experiments were performed to investigate the relationship between the oculomotor adjustments assumed in total darkness and perceived distance under reduced visual conditions. Experiment I compared the dark focus of accommodation with the perceived distance of a monocular light point presented in a dark environment. Experiment II compared the convergence angle assumed in darkness (dark convergence) with the perceived distance of the light point. Both accommodation and convergence were found to assume intermediate values in darkness. Perceived distance of the monocular light point was significantly correlated with dark convergence and unrelated to the dark focus of accommodation. It was suggested that ocular vergence is a major determinant of perceived distance under reduced visual conditions, and thus provides a possible mechanism for the specific distance tendency.


Total Darkness Light Point Convergence Angle Stimulus Distance Optical Society ofAmerica 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baldwin, W. R., &Stover, W. B. Observation of laser standing wave patterns to determine refractive status.American Journal of Optometry, 1968,45, 143–150.Google Scholar
  2. Bedford, R. E., &Wyszecki, G. Axial chromatic aberration of the human eye.Journal of the Optical Society of American, 1957,47, 564–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell, F. W., &Primrose.J. A. E. The state of accommodation of the human eye in darkness.Transactions of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, 1953,73, 353–361.Google Scholar
  4. Charman, W. N. On the position of the plane of stationarity in laser refraction.American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics, 1974,51, 832–838.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Craske, B., &Crawshaw, M. Adaptive changes of opposite sign in the oculomotor systems of the two eyes.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1974,26, 106–113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Craske, B., &Crawshaw, M. Oculomotor adaptation to prisms is not simply a muscle potentiation effect.Perception & Psychophysics, 1975,18, 105–106.Google Scholar
  7. Ebenholtz, S. M., &Wolfson, D. M. Perceptual aftereffects of sustained convergence.Perception & Psychophysics. 1975,17, 485–491.Google Scholar
  8. Fincham, E. F. Accommodation and convergence in the absence of retinal images.Vision Research, 1962,1, 425–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gogel, W. C. The sensing of retinal size.Vision Research, 1969,9, 1079–1094.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Gogel, W. C. Scalar perceptions with binocular cues of distance.American Journal of Psychology, 1972,85, 477–497.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Gogel, W. C., &Sturm, R. D. A comparison of accommodative and fusional convergence as cues to distance.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,11, 166–168.Google Scholar
  12. Gogel, W. C., &Tietz, J. D. Absolute motion parallax and the the specific distance tendency.Perception & Psychophysics, 1973,13, 284–292.Google Scholar
  13. Grant, V. W. Accommodation and convergence in visual space perception.Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1942,31, 89–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harvey, L. O., &Leibowitz, H. W. Effects of exposure duration, cue reduction, and temporary monocularity on size matching at short distances.Journal qtr the Optical Society of America, 1967,57, 249–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hay, J. C., &Sawyer, S. Position constancy and binocular convergence.Perception & Psychophysics, 1969,5, 310–312.Google Scholar
  16. Heineman, E. G., Tulving, E., &Nachmias, J. The effect of oculomotor adjustments on apparent size.American Journal of Psychology, 1959,72, 32–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hennessy, R. T. Instrument myopia.Journal of the Optical Society of Amenca, 1975,65, 1114–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hennessy, R. T., Iida, T., Shiina, K., &Leibowitz, H. W. The effect of pupil size on accommodation.Vision Research, 1976,16, 587–589.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hennessy, R. T., &Leibowitz, H. W. Subjective measurement of accommodation with laser light.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1970,60, 1700–1701.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hennessy, R. T., &Leibowitz, H. W. Laser optometer incorporating the Badal principle.Behavioral Research Methods & Instrumentation, 1972,4, 237–239.Google Scholar
  21. Ingels E., &Ragnarsson, S. I. Eye refraction examined by the did of speckle pattern produced by coherent light.Vision Research, 1972,12, 411–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ivanoff, A. Night binocular convergence and night myopia.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1955,45, 769–770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ivanoff, A., &Bourdy, C.Le comportement de la convergence en vision nocturne.Annales d’ Optique Oculaire, 1954.3, 70–75.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, C. A. Effects of luminance and stimulus distance on accommodation and visual resolution.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1976,66, 138–142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Knoll, H. A. Measuring ametropia with a gas laser. A preliminary report.Ametican Journal oJ Optometry and Archives of the American Academy of Optometry, 1966,43, 415–418.Google Scholar
  26. Leibowitz, H. W., &Hennessy, R. T. The laser optometer and some implications for behavioral research.American Psychologist, 1975,30, 349–352.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Leibowitz, H. W., &Moore, D. Role of changes in accommodation and convergence in the perception ot size.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1966,56, 1120–1123CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Leibowitz, H. W., &Owens, D. A. Night myopia and the dark focus of accommodation.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1975,65, 1121–1128. (a)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Leibowitz, H. W., &Owens, D. A. Anomolous myopias and the dark focus of accommodation.Science, 1975,189, 646–648. (b)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Leibowitz, H. W., Shijna, K., &Hennessy, R. T. Oculomotor adjustments and size constancy.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,12, 497–500.Google Scholar
  31. Mershon, D. H., &Gogel, W. C. Failure of familiar size to determine a metric for visually perceived distance.Perception & Psychophysics, 1975,17, 101–106.Google Scholar
  32. Morgan, M. W. A new theory for the control of accommodation.American Journal of Optometry, 1946,23, 99–110.Google Scholar
  33. Morgan, M. W. The resting state of accommodation.American Journal of Optometry, 1957,34, 347–353.Google Scholar
  34. Ogle, K. N.Optics An introduction for ophthalmologists (2nd ed.). Springfield, Ill: Thomas, 1971.Google Scholar
  35. Otero, J. M. Influence of the state of accommodation on the visual performance of the human eye.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1951,41, 942–948.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Owens, D. A., &Leibowitz, H. W. The fixation point as a stimulus for accommodation.Vision Research, 1975,15, 1161–1163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Palacios, J.De la mtopia y de la prebtcia nocturna.lnvestigacion y Progresso, 1943,14, 267.Google Scholar
  38. Phillips, D., Sterling, W., &Dwyer, W. O. Validity of the laser refraction technique for determining cylindrical error.American Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics, 1975,52, 328–331.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Schober, H.Uber die Akkommodationsruhelage.Optik. 1954,6, 282–290.Google Scholar
  40. Smithline, L. M. Accommodative response to blur.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1974,64, 1512–1516.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Swenson, H. A. The relative influence of accommodation and convergence in the judgment of distance.Journal of General Psychology. 1932,7, 360–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Toates, F. M. Accommodation function of the human eye.Phystological Reviews, 1972,52, 828–863.Google Scholar
  43. Toates, F. M. Vergence eye movements.Documenta Ophthalmologica, 1974,37, 153–214.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Wald, G., &Griffin, D. R. The change of refractive power of the human eye in dim and bright light.Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1947,37, 321–336.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Wallach, H., &Frey, K. J. Adaptation in distance perception based on oculomotor cues.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,11, 77–83.Google Scholar
  46. Wallach, H., Frey, K. J., &Bode, K. A. The nature of adaptation in distance perception based on oculomotor cues.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,11, 110–116.Google Scholar
  47. Wallach, H., Yablick, G., &Smith, A. Target distance and adaptation in distance perception in the constancy of visual direction.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,12, 139–145.Google Scholar
  48. Westheimer, G., &Blair, S. M. Accommodation of the eye during sleep and anesthesia.Vision Research, 1973,13, 1035–1040.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Owens
    • 1
  • H. W. Leibowitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

Personalised recommendations