Modelling the spectral sensitivity of the human circadian system

M. S. Rea, M. G. Figueiro, A. Bierman, R. Hamner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


It is now well established that the spectral, spatial, temporal and absolute sensitivities of the human circadian system are very different from those of the human visual system. Although qualitative comparisons between the human circadian and visual systems can be made, there still remains some uncertainty in quantitatively predicting exactly how the circadian system will respond to different light exposures reaching the retina. This paper discusses attempts to model the spectral sensitivity of the circadian system. Each of the models discussed here varies in terms of its complexity and its consideration of retinal neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Future testing to validate or improve any of these computational models will require a targeted hypothesis, as well as a suitably high level of experimental control before one model can be rejected in favour of another. Until specific hypotheses are formulated and tested, it would be premature to recommend international acceptance of any model or system of circadian photometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-396
Number of pages11
JournalLighting Research and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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