Using radiative transfer, we investigate linear and circular polarized light normally impinging a plane-parallel medium containing a random distribution of identically sized latex spheres in water. The focus of this study is to understand fundamental properties of polarized light scattering. In particular, we analyze backscattered and transmitted flux responses computed form direct numerical simulations. Form these numerical computations, we observe that circular polarized light depolarizes at a slower rate than linear polarized light. In addition, circular polarized light shows a more noticeable dependence on the size of the scatterers than linear polarized light. Furthermore, the helicity flip observed in circular polarized backscattered light is a fundamental phenomenon manifested by low order scattering.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.