Visual Adaptation

Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2015 Nov 1;1:547-567. doi: 10.1146/annurev-vision-082114-035509. Epub 2015 Oct 22.


Sensory systems continuously mold themselves to the widely varying contexts in which they must operate. Studies of these adaptations have played a long and central role in vision science. In part this is because the specific adaptations remain a powerful tool for dissecting vision, by exposing the mechanisms that are adapting. That is, "if it adapts, it's there." Many insights about vision have come from using adaptation in this way, as a method. A second important trend has been the realization that the processes of adaptation are themselves essential to how vision works, and thus are likely to operate at all levels. That is, "if it's there, it adapts." This has focused interest on the mechanisms of adaptation as the target rather than the probe. Together both approaches have led to an emerging insight of adaptation as a fundamental and ubiquitous coding strategy impacting all aspects of how we see.

Keywords: color; form; neural coding; perceptual constancy; perceptual norms; plasticity.