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The Neuroscience of Yoricks's Ghost and Other Afterimages

This is the eighth article in the Mind Matters series on the neuroscience behind visual illusions.

1 of 6

Twinkle: A Dynamic Aftereffect That Helps to Diagnose Blindness

So far, the afterimages in this slide show have been filled in with colors and brightness. But what happens when you adapt to a dynamic stimulus? The Twinkle effect shows that when a static object adapts to a dynamic surround, the static areas may appear as dynamic.....[ More ]

Robin's Illusory Red Breast

Click here to view this illusion Afterimages can be captured from the complementary surround color, as in this demonstration of an uncolored bird that captures the reddish color of its background, before taking flight.....[ More ]

Lilac Chaser

Click here to view this illusion
Afterimages can form quickly and, as the adaptation deepens, so, too, does the intensity of the afterimage. Jeremy L. Hinton, of BAE Systems Technology Centre in Bristol, U.K., developed a compelling illusion that highlights these effects.....[ More ]

Bovine Fly

This illusion shows the interaction between color perception and afterimages. First, notice that the left image has a color imbalance to the right and left of the fly. Now, fixate your gaze on the fly in the right image for 10 to 30 seconds: this staring will selectively adapt the blue versus yellow color channels of your retina in your left versus right visual field.....[ More ]

Evolution and Adaptation

In celebration of Darwin’s birthday, psychologists Rob Jenkins of the University of Glasgow and Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire created an illusory homage to Darwin’s evolutionary roots.....[ More ]

Yoricks's Ghost

In this antique illusion, you can stare at the X in Yorick’s left eye socket for about 10 to  30 seconds, then look away at a flat surface such as a piece of paper, wall, ceiling or sky, and you will see Yorick’s afterimage as a ghostly apparition.....[ More ]

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