Afterimage of Perceptually Filled-in Surface

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Science  31 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5535, pp. 1677-1680
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060161

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An afterimage induced by prior adaptation to a visual stimulus is believed to be due to bleaching of photochemical pigments or neural adaptation in the retina. We report a type of afterimage that appears to require cortical adaptation. Fixating a neon-color spreading configuration led not only to negative afterimages corresponding to the inducers (local afterimages), but also to one corresponding to the perceptually filled-in surface during adaptation (global afterimage). These afterimages were mutually exclusive, undergoing monocular rivalry. The strength of the global afterimage correlated to a greater extent with perceptual filling-in during adaptation than with the strength of the local afterimages. Thus, global afterimages are not merely by-products of local afterimages, but involve adaptation at a cortical representation of surface.

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