Orientation-contingent color aftereffects mediated by subjective transparent structures

Takeo Watanabe, George L. Zimmerman, Patrick Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We examined whether the orientation-contingent color aftereffect (the McCollough effect) could be mediated by subjective horizontal and vertical structure induced by the perception of transparency. In our experiments, red vertical bars and green horizontal bars were alternated as an adapting stimulus. After adaptation, subjects (n=6) were asked to adjust the green and red saturation of a test pattern until they obtained a neutral gray. Horizontal and vertical stripes were combined in the test pattern in three different ways: (1) overlapping with a luminance combination that gave rise to a perception of transparent overlays of horizontal and vertical stripes (valid transparency condition), (2) overlapping with luminance combinations that did not induce a perception of transparency (invalid transparency condition) and that appeased more as a patchwork of checks, and (3) presented in adjacent, nonoverlapping areas. Our results showed that the McCollough effect was significantly greater in the valid transparency condition than in the invalid transparency conditions. The effect in the valid transparency condition was nevertheless less strong than was the effect seen with the standard test stimulus made up of nonoverlapping vertical and horizontal stripes, Our results suggest that the McCollough effect can be mediated by the subjective spatial organization (inner representation of vertical and horizontal stripes) that accompanies the perception of transparency in our stimulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1992

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