Course Icon


Biology Lab: Peripheral vision

SO Icon

Lab Exercise

Biology Lab: Peripheral Vision

Goal: To measure peripheral vision in two or more subjects..



  1. Seat the subject facing away from a room-level light source so his or her vision will not be affected by glare.
  2. Stretch yarn or cloth tape under the subject's chair so that there is a straight line in the same plane as the subject's eyes. This marks the 180° "forward vision" area. Tape the string down so that it doesn't move.
  3. Have the subject stare straight ahead (it is a good idea to place a target on the opposite wall for the subject to focus on).
  4. For each colored object, and for the small light, perform the following measurements:
    1. Request the subject to stare straight ahead for the first set of trials. He is to tell you the color of the object as soon as he sees it.
    2. Start behind the subject's head and bring the object in a circle around to the subject's right side, keeping about two feet away from the subject. Try to hold the object from behind so that the subject will see mostly the object and not your hand.
    3. When the subject notifies you that the object is visible, use the plumb bob and a sticky note to mark the position on the floor.
    4. Repeat on the run on the left side.
  5. Repeat the run with the yellow object and the light, but this time, allow the subject to move his eyes (but not turn his head).
  6. If possible, test at least one other person.


  1. Describe your experimental setup, especially if you needed to improvise.
  2. Present your data in tabular format, organized so that the reader can compare differences in left and right peripheral awareness, and differences in color detection.
  3. What general conclusions can you make about peripheral sensitivity to color (does it matter what color the object is, or whether it is lit or not?)
  4. Is you subject able to see everything "in front", that is, forward of your 180° line? Can he see anything "behind" him on the side?