The scintillating grid illusion

Vision Res. 1997 Apr;37(8):1033-8. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(96)00255-6.


Disk-shaped luminance increments were added to the intersections of a Hermann grid consisting of medium grey bars on a black background. Illusory spots, darker than the background, were perceived as flashing within the white disks with each flick of the eye. This striking phenomenon may be referred to as the scintillating grid illusion. We determined the conditions necessary for cancelling the Hermann grid illusion, as well as the luminance requirements and the size ratio between disks and bars that elicits the scintillation effect. The fact that scanning eye movements are necessary to produce the scintillation effect sets it apart from the Hermann grid illusion.

MeSH terms

  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Optical Illusions / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photometry