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The McCollough effect (ME) is a visual aftereffect in which illusory colors are contingent on the orientation of black-and-white lines. For example, after looking at alternating black-and-red vertical lines and black-and-green horizontal lines, black-and-white vertical lines look greenish and black-and-white horizontal lines look reddish (see color insert, Figure 26d).

The ME is fascinating for:

  • being simple to establish, yet being long lasting: 10 minutes of induction produces MEs lasting 24 hours;
  • being a contingent aftereffect (CAE) in which one property of the visual world, for example, color, is contingent on another such as orientation; and
  • offering a key to the binding problem: how different properties of the sensory world, such as color and orientation, analyzed in different parts of the brain, are experienced as bound together into, say, a ...
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