Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 7861 (2015) – doi:10.1038/srep07861


Humans perceive a stable average intensity image without flicker artifacts when a television or monitor updates at a sufficiently fast rate. This rate, known as the critical flicker fusion rate, has been studied for both spatially uniform lights, and spatio-temporal displays. These studies have included both stabilized and unstablized retinal images, and report the maximum observable rate as 50–90 Hz. A separate line of research has reported that fast eye movements known as saccades allow simple modulated LEDs to be observed at very high rates. Here we show that humans perceive visual flicker artifacts at rates over 500 Hz when a display includes high frequency spatial edges. This rate is many times higher than previously reported. As a result, modern display designs which use complex spatio-temporal coding need to update much faster than conventional TVs, which traditionally presented a simple sequence of natural images.

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