Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 229–235 | Cite as

The disappearance of real and subjective contours

  • Diane F. Halpern
  • Joel S. Warm


The disappearance characteristics of luminous designs were studied in three experiments. The stimuli were geometric forms set off by either real or subjective contours. Subjective-contour forms fragmented more often and in a manner qualitatively different from that of forms created with real contours. Previewing a real-contour form increased the subsequent fragmentation of that form, but no adaptation effects were noted among forms created with subjective contours, and there was no cross-contour adaptation. These results are interpreted as inconsistent with the position that subjective contours result from the partial activation of feature-analyzer mechanisms in the visual system.


Adaptation Effect Subjective Contour Subjective Figure Poggendorff Illusion Motion Aftereffect 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane F. Halpern
    • 1
  • Joel S. Warm
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, RiversideRiverside
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnati

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