I have a couple of different LED flashlights. One of them has three different "modes" of brightness, and the way it controls it is via pulse width modulation (PWM). Here is a picture that illustrates how it works:
I know that this particular flashlight's PWM circuit operates at about 120Hz. What this means is that when you move something very quickly under it, when running a low duty cycle, it produces a strobe-light effect, where you'll see many "copies" of the moving object. It reminds me of the way video-games are rendered, and it actually creates a really neat effect because you only "see" very small time-slices. Watching running water this way is absolutely fascinating.
From empirical observation I determine that on the lowest setting it seems to be on about a 2-5% duty cycle. The ghost-images produced are remarkably sharp. On Medium, I reckon it's about 25 to 30%.
Something I've noticed very recently is that when I use this flashlight under dark-adjusted conditions, the brightness that is perceived definitely doesn't seem to scale linearly. I have no scientific light intensity equipment to perform measurements with, but I am more or less convinced that a 1000 lumen light on a 2% square-wave duty cycle appears brighter than a 20 lumen light, all else being equal (which would include incident light energy).
I think there may be some biological explanation for this. Is this an effect that has been observed by others?