Jaén M, 2007, "Electronic ballasts, lighting temporal modulation and visual performance" Perception 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Electronic ballasts, lighting temporal modulation and visual performance
It is well known that temporal modulation of lighting (flicker) can be unhealthy. Since fluorescent lamps activated with magnetic ballasts (MB) began to be massively used, office workers' complaints associated with lighting became frequent. The use of electronic ballasts (EB) in the circuit, which raises the main frequency of light modulation from 100 Hz to 50 - 60 kHz, diminishes eye strain and headache symptoms in individuals; however, this solution may require a large investment and is not always available. Therefore, the early detection of individuals who have high sensitivity to this effect becomes very important. We developed a simple psychophysical method to assess the efficiency of a visual-search task under both lighting situations (MB and EB). We performed the experiment with a sample of fifty subjects aged between 20 and 22 years, all with normal or corrected-to-normal vision. Results showed statistically significant differences between the efficiency attained in these two lighting situations. The method allowed us to discriminate, by using a thresholding criterion, two sub-samples of individuals: one with low and the other with high sensitivity to temporal modulation of lighting. Our results are comparable to those obtained with classical discrimination methods, such as Landolt's rings tests.
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