THE practical facility with which we recognise the situation of a sounding body has always been rather a theoretical difficulty. In the case of sight a special optical apparatus is provided whose function it is to modify the uniform excitation of the retina, which a luminous point, wherever situated, would otherwise produce. The mode of action of the crystalline lens of the eye is well understood, and the use of a lens is precisely the device that would at once occur to the mind of an optician ignorant of physiology. The bundle of rays, which would otherwise distribute themselves over the entire retina, and so give no indication of their origin, are made to converge upon a single point, whose excitation is to us the sign of an external object in a certain definite direction. If the luminous object is moved, the fact is at once recognised by the change in the point of excitation.
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Journal of Comparative Physiology A (2007)