Flashed stimulation produces strong simultaneous brightness and color contrast

Sae Kaneko, Ikuya Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Simultaneous brightness contrast and simultaneous color contrast are classical illusions that demonstrate how our perception can be altered by spatial context; a central gray region appears to have brightness and color that are complementary to those of a surrounding region. Previous studies have suggested the involvement of a sluggish process in these illusions. On the other hand, a different, fast mechanism has recently been postulated to operate in simultaneous contrast when the stimulus is presented only briefly. Here, we show that in briefly flashed stimuli, not only the simultaneous brightness contrast but also the simultaneous color contrast is perceived with greatly enhanced illusion strength. In simultaneous brightness contrast, inserting a spatial gap between the center and surround weakened the illusion only when the stimulus was flashed. In simultaneous color contrast, the gap weakened the illusion irrespective of stimulus duration. Both brightness contrast and color contrast effects steeply decayed with duration. The present study suggests the existence of a fast-responding process for estimating brightness/color primarily based on local difference in luminance/color along the edge between the center and surround. We argue that the sluggishness of simultaneous contrast demonstrated by previous studies originated from a sluggish process after local and fast spatial interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychophysics
  • Simultaneous brightness contrast
  • Simultaneous color contrast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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