Goggles for Rotating the Visual Field


Accession Number: 2012.psy.111

Description: This object has two components: A pair of specialized viewing lenses and a cylinder for holding prisms.

Component a: A pair of brass tubular viewing lenses are attached to a metal plate. The left lens (from the wearer’s perspective) is not firmly attached. Each lens has a lever on the side which rotates a brass cylinder inserted into the brass lens tube. The cylinder in the left lens contains a prism. The cylinder in the right lens is empty. There is a smaller hollow brass cylinder attached vertically to each end of the metal plate. One of these has a thin shim of leather rolled inside of it. The metal plate that the lenses are attached to has plaster attached to its other side moulded to fit the wearer. The plaster is reinforced by canvas tape. Three canvas straps attached to the metal plate secure the lenses to the wearer’s head.

Component b: One of the brass cylinders which could be inserted into the viewing lens. It does not contain a prism. 4 cm in diameter.

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Brass, Plaster, Canvas, Metal, Canvas Tape


Dimensions (cm): Height = 11.5, Width = 17.5, Length = 7.5

Function: This device rotates the visual field in order to investigate the nature of visual representation and the adaptation to modified visual input.

Condition: Fair. The left lens is not well attached and the plaster body is scratched and slightly chipped.

Associated Instruments:


Date of Manufacture:

Provenance: Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto

Donated to UTSIC: No

Historical Notes: The process for reversing the retinal image was described in August of 1896 by Dr. George M. Stratton (University of California) at the Third International Congress for Psychology in Munich. There he described the process of gradual adaptation to the reversal of the retinal image, including the lingering effects of previous experience, after having worn a similar device over various periods. [Stratton, 1896]

1) Slater, Alan. Perceptual Development: Visual, Auditory, and Speech Perception in Infancy, Psychology Press Ltd, 1998.

2) Stratton, George M. ‘Some preliminary experiements on vision.’ Psychological Review, 1896. A transcription is provided here by an instructor at NYU Center for Neural Science.