Attention during adaptation weakens negative afterimages of perceptually colour-spread surfaces

Can J Exp Psychol. 2008 Jun;62(2):101-9. doi: 10.1037/1196-1961.62.2.101.


The visual system can complete coloured surfaces from stimulus fragments, inducing the subjective perception of a colour-spread figure. Negative afterimages of these induced colours were first reported by S. Shimojo, Y. Kamitani, and S. Nishida (2001). Two experiments were conducted to examine the effect of attention on the duration of these afterimages. The results showed that shifting attention to the colour-spread figure during the adaptation phase weakened the subsequent afterimage. On the basis of previous findings that the duration of these afterimages is correlated with the strength of perceptual filling-in (grouping) among local inducers during the adaptation phase, it is proposed that attention weakens perceptual filling-in during the adaptation phase and thereby prevents the stimulus from being segmented into an illusory figure.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Afterimage*
  • Attention*
  • Color Perception*
  • Cues
  • Humans