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The Mandelbaum Effect: Evidence for an accommodative bias toward intermediate viewing distances

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that ocular accommodation tends to correspond to an intermediate distance, the dark focus, in the absence of effective stimulation. The present experiments measured accommodative responses in the presence of two adequate, monocular stimuli superimposed optically at different distances. In Experiment I, observers attempted to maintain a matrix of letters in clear focus as a superimposed mesh screen was varied in distance. In Experiment II, observers were instructed to focus the “easier” of two similar grating patterns that were presented over a range of distances with a constant separation of two diopters. The results of both experiments showed an accomodative response bias toward target distances near the observers’ dark focus of accommodation. The implications of these findings for the theoretical resting state of accomodation and for practical problems of visual performance are discussed.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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