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Further studies of the McCollough effect


Following prolonged viewing of black and white striped pattems in colored light, red and green aftereffects that lasted as long as 3 days were seen on the patterns, illuminated with white light. Altemate exposures of a vertical pattern of stripes in green light and a horizontal in white light (or a vertical in white light and a horizontal in red light) produced a red aftereffect on the vertical pattern and a green on the horizontal. The red and green aftereffects were also produced with a single vertical pattern. Adaptation colors that were at all greenish produced a red aftereffect on a vertical pattern and a green on a horizontal, whereas colors that were at all reddish produced a green aftereffect on a vertical pattern and a red on a horizontal. Colors near pure blue and pure yellow, which had little red or green content, produced weak aftereffects. The saturation of the aftereffects on the vertical grating varied in proportion to the red or green content of the adaptation color. Vivid red and green aftereffects were frequently obtained with the vertical and horizontal adaptation patterns paired with colors that closely bracketed pure yellow or pure blue. In all cases, the aftereffects gradually desaturated as the head was gradually tilted down to the side; the colors on each test pattern, vertical and horizontal, vanished at 45-deghead tilt and reversed beyond 45 deg.


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Correspondence to C. F. Stromeyer.

Additional information

This work was supported by a NIH predoctoral fellowship and a National Research Councü-AFOSR postdoctoral fellowship.

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Stromeyer, C.F. Further studies of the McCollough effect. Perception & Psychophysics 6, 105–110 (1969).

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  • Vertical Stripe
  • Aftereffect Color
  • Vertical Pattern
  • Vertical Grating
  • Test Grating