Stabilized Images are images that remain immobile on the retina. Under natural viewing conditions, the eyes are always in motion. Small eye movements continually occur even when attempting to maintain steady gaze on a single point. Experiments by Riggs and Ratliff in the early 1950s established the remarkable finding that stabilized images result in the fading and disappearance of the visual percept. Some think that this demonstrates adaptation of the sensory retinal cells, but it may have a more profound involvement in the functioning of neural cliques, cell assemblies (cf. Hebbian theory) and patterns for memory. More recently, work from Michele Rucci's laboratory at Boston University has indicated that retinal stabilization selectively impairs vision of fine spatial detail.
Images can be stabilized mechanically with optics mounted on the eye itself, or the image can be continually updated on a display to counteract the effects of eye movements. None of these methods allows perfect image stabilization leaving open the question of whether perfectly stabilized images disappear completely.
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- Rucci, M., Iovin, R., Poletti, M., Santini, F. (2007). "Miniature Eye Movements Enhance Fine Spatial Detail." Nature,447(7146), 851-854.
- "Eye flickers key for fine detail". BBC News. June 2007.
- Santini, F., Redner, G., Iovin, R., Rucci, M. (2007)."EyeRIS: A general-purpose system for eye movement contingent display control" Behavior Research Methods. 39(3), 350-364.
- Arend, L. E.; Timberlake, G. T. (1986). "What is psychophysically perfect image stabilization? Do perfectly stabilized images always disappear?". Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics and image science. 3 (2): 235–41. doi:10.1364/josaa.3.000235. PMID 3950797.
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