The contrast sensitivity of the human eye for sinusoidal illuminance changes in space and time, obtained by means of traveling-wave stimuli, was measured as a function of spatial and temporal frequency for white light. The average retinal illuminance was varied between 0.85 and 850 trolands. The threshold modulation for perception of a moving grating is generally higher than that for detection of brightness changes, in space and/or time, that give rise to flicker phenomena. Flicker-fusion characteristics, as determined from the thresholds for the flicker phenomenon, are found to lose their band-pass-filter resemblance for spatial frequencies of more than 5 cycles per degree of visual angle. The thresholds at flicker fusion for spatial- and temporal-frequency combinations in which not both frequencies are very low, appear to be proportional to the inverse of the square root of mean retinal illuminance, in the investigated range. This suggests a photon-noise-dependent threshold mechanism which is operative in a wider illuminance range than that found with contrast-sensitivity measurements for periodic illuminance variations only in space or only in time.
F. L. VAN NES, J. J. KOENDERINE, H. NAS, and M. A. BOUMAN, "Spatiotemporal Modulation Transfer in the Human Eye," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 1082-1087 (1967)