Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 1496–1502 | Cite as

A consumer-grade LCD monitor for precise visual stimulation

  • Gong-Liang Zhang
  • Ai-Su Li
  • Cheng-Guo Miao
  • Xun He
  • Ming Zhang
  • Yang Zhang


Because they were used for decades to present visual stimuli in psychophysical and psychophysiological studies, cathode ray tubes (CRTs) used to be the gold standard for stimulus presentation in vision research. Recently, as CRTs have become increasingly rare in the market, researchers have started using various types of liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitors as a replacement for CRTs. However, LCDs are typically not cost-effective when used in vision research and often cannot reach the full capacity of a high refresh rate. In this study we measured the temporal and spatial characteristics of a consumer-grade LCD, and the results suggested that a consumer-grade LCD can successfully meet all the technical demands in vision research. The tested LCD, working in a flash style like that of CRTs, demonstrated perfect consistency for initial latencies across locations, yet showed poor spatial uniformity and sluggishness in reaching the requested luminance within the first frame. After these drawbacks were addressed through software corrections, the candidate monitor showed performance comparable or superior to that of CRTs in terms of both spatial and temporal homogeneity. The proposed solution can be used as a replacement for CRTs in vision research.


Vision research Display CRT LCD Consumer-grade 


  1. Bach, M., Meigen, T., & Strasburger, H. (1997). Raster-scan cathode-ray tubes for vision research: Limits of resolution in space, time and intensity, and some solutions. Spatial Vision, 10, 403–414.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Brainard, D. H., Pelli, D. G., & Robson, T. (2002). Display characterization. In Encyclopedia of imaging science and technology (pp. 172–188). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Cook, J. N., Sample, P. A., & Weinreb, R. N. (1993). Solution to spatial inhomogeneity on video monitors. Color Research and Application, 18, 334–340. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cowan, W. B. (1995). Displays for vision research. In I. M. Bass (Ed.), Handbook of optics (Vol. 1): Fundamentals, techniques, and design, pp. 27.21–27.44). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Elze, T., & Tanner, T. G. (2012). Temporal properties of liquid crystal displays: Implications for vision science experiments. PLoS ONE, 7, e44048. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Ghodrati, M., Morris, A. P., & Price, N. S. (2015). The (un)suitability of modern liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for vision research. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 303. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Ito, H., Ogawa, M., & Sunaga, S. (2013). Evaluation of an organic light-emitting diode display for precise visual stimulation. Journal of Vision, 13(7), 6. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Klein, J., Zlatkova, M., Lauritzen, J., & Pierscionek, B. (2013). Photometric and colorimetric measurements of CRT and TFT monitors for vision research. Journal of Modern Optics, 60, 1159–1166. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Krantz, J. H. (2000). Tell me, what did you see? The stimulus on computers. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 32, 221–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Krolak-Salmon, P., Henaff, M. A., Tallon-Baudry, C., Yvert, B., Guenot, M., Vighetto, A., . . . Bertrand, O. (2003). Human lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex respond to screen flicker. Annals of Neurology, 53, 73–80.
  11. Luck, S. J. (2014). An introduction to the event-related potential technique (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Pelli, D. G. (1997a). Pixel independence: Measuring spatial interactions on a CRT display. Spatial Vision, 10, 443–446.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Pelli, D. G. (1997b). The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: Transforming numbers into movies. Spatial Vision, 10, 437–442. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Plant, R. R. (2016). A reminder on millisecond timing accuracy and potential replication failure in computer-based psychology experiments: An open letter. Behavior Research Methods, 48, 408–411. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Sperling, G. (1971). The description and luminous calibration of cathode ray oscilloscope visual displays. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 3, 148–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wang, P., & Nikolic, D. (2011). An LCD monitor with sufficiently precise timing for research in vision. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5, 85. PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Watson, A. B., & Ahumada, A. J. (2010). Visible motion blur: A perceptual metric for display motion blur. Sid Symposium Digest of Technical Papers, 41, 184–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Williams, P. E., Mechler, F., Gordon, J., Shapley, R., & Hawken, M. J. (2004). Entrainment to video displays in primary visual cortex of macaque and humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 8278–8288. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Wollman, D. E., & Palmer, L. A. (1995). Phase locking of neuronal responses to the vertical refresh of computer display monitors in cat lateral geniculate nucleus and striate cortex. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 60, 107–113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of EducationSoochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyBournemouth UniversityPooleUK

Personalised recommendations