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The effects of glare and inhomogeneous visual fields on contrast detection in the context of driving

Winter, Jan; Fotios, Steve; Völker, Stephan

FG Lichttechnik

An experiment was carried out to investigate how contrast threshold for target detection is affected by the presence of glare and by extraneous light sources using the method of ascending limits. The target was located at either a foveal or a peripheral (10° right) location, glare was adjacent to the foveal location, simulating the headlamps of an oncoming vehicle, and extraneous light sources were at either foveal or peripheral (10° right or left) locations. Contrast threshold for a foveal target without glare was affected mainly by the surrounding local luminance distribution. However, in the presence of glare and also for the peripheral target (both with and without glare) the global luminance distribution matters. Glare increased the contrast needed for detection of the foveal target, but this effect was reduced by the presence of extraneous light sources that were peripheral to the target. For peripheral targets, contrast threshold was also reduced by the presence of extraneous light at a non-target location and this effect was increased in the presence of glare. Glare equations tend to be based on tests using uniform, homogenous fields: these data indicate that, in the presence of extraneous light sources, the influence of glare is overestimated.