Flicker-induced color and form: interdependencies and relation to stimulation frequency and phase

Conscious Cogn. 2006 Mar;15(1):175-96. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2005.05.004. Epub 2005 Jul 28.


Our understanding of human visual perception generally rests on the assumption that conscious visual states represent the interaction of spatial structures in the environment and our nervous system. This assumption is questioned by circumstances where conscious visual states can be triggered by external stimulation which is not primarily spatially defined. Here, subjective colors and forms are evoked by flickering light while the precise nature of those experiences varies over flicker frequency and phase. What's more, the occurrence of one subjective experience appears to be associated with the occurrence of others. While these data indicate that conscious visual experience may be evoked directly by particular variations in the flow of spatially unstructured light over time, it must be assumed that the systems responsible are essentially temporal in character and capable of representing a variety of visual forms and colors, coded in different frequencies or at different phases of the same processing rhythm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color Perception*
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Physical Stimulation / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception*