Figural aftereffects and spatial attention

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1996 Apr;22(2):446-60. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.22.2.446.


Distracting attention away from the location of an adaptation figure reduces the positional shift of a displaced test figure in the figural aftereffect (FAE). Participants performed an alignment task after adaptation involving various manipulations of spatial attention. In 1 condition, participants counted how often numbers occurred in an alphanumeric sequence presented during adaptation. (The sequence also appeared in a comparison condition, but no attention was required.) The FAE was reduced when the alphanumeric sequence attended to was in the center of the display while the adaptation figure was 3 degrees eccentric but not when the pattern was superimposed on the adaptation figure. Forced attention to 1 feature of the adaptation figure, its orientation, did not reduce the FAE (Experiment 3). To obtain a maximum FAE, the span of attention must cover the adaptation figure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Depth Perception*
  • Female
  • Figural Aftereffect*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychophysics