Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 5–10 | Cite as

Shape-assimilation effect: retrospective distortion of visual shapes

  • Fuminori Ono
  • Katsumi Watanabe


A brief visual stimulus distorts the perceived shape of a subsequent visual stimulus as being dissimilar to the shape of a previous stimulus (shape-contrast effect). In this study, we presented a visual stimulus after a to-be-estimated target stimulus and found that the perceived shape of the target stimulus appeared to be similar to the shape of the following stimulus (shape-assimilation effect). The assimilation effect occurred even when the following stimulus was presented at positions different from that of the target stimulus, indicating that the shape-assimilation effect is a nonretinotopic distortion. The results suggest that the preceding and succeeding stimuli differentially modulate the perceived shape of a briefly presented stimulus.


Shape perception Shape-assimilation effect Shape-contrast effect 



This research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (23240034, 23730694) from the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yamaguchi UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  2. 2.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchi-shiJapan

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