When measurements of the critical fusion frequency for white light over a large range of intensities are made with the rod-free area of the fovea, the relation between critical frequency and log I is given by a single sigmoid curve, the middle portion of which approximates a straight line whose slope is 11.0. This single relation must be a function of the foveal cones.
When the measurements are made with a retinal area placed 5° from the fovea, and therefore containing both rods and cones, the relation between critical frequency and log I shows two clearly separated sections. At the lower intensities the relation is sigmoid and reaches an upper level at about 10 cycles per second, which is maintained for 1.25 log units, and is followed by another sigmoid relationship at the higher intensities similar to the one given by the rod-free area alone.
These two parts of the data are obviously separate functions of the rods at low intensities and of the cones at high intensities. This is further borne out by similar measurements made with retinal areas 15° and 20° from the fovea where the ratio of rods to cones is anatomically greater than at 5°. The two sections of the data come out farther apart on the intensity scale, the rod portion being at lower intensities and the cone portion at higher intensities than at 5°.
The general form of the relation between critical frequency and intensity is therefore determined by the relative predominance of the cones and the rods in the retinal area used for the measurements.