February 2016
Volume 16, Issue 4
Open Access
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   February 2016
How a New Color Aftereffect Happened To Turn Up at Oberlin, 50 Years Ago
Journal of Vision February 2016, Vol.16, 24. doi:10.1167/16.4.16
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      Celeste McCollough Howard; How a New Color Aftereffect Happened To Turn Up at Oberlin, 50 Years Ago. Journal of Vision 2016;16(4):24. doi: 10.1167/16.4.16.

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      © 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

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Abstract

At Oberlin in the ‘60s, Introductory Psychology was a full-year course introducing general experimental psychology as a biosocial science. Single cell recordings from cat and monkey visual cortex had recently enabled visual science to move beyond the retina to the early cortical stages of visual processing. Ivo Kohler had reported studies of behavior during continuous wearing of prism spectacles that displace the retinal image laterally. They showed that one can regain fairly normal visuomotor coordination in a few weeks. His reports made adaptation to prism glasses a hot topic for investigation.

Laboratory studies lasting a few hours are long enough to get measurable shifts in perceived visual direction. They're not long enough to get the “chromatic fringe” aftereffect, another outcome of continuous prism-wearing. Kohler himself attributed it to learning, but his words “conditioned color perception” did not sit well with rigorously trained visual scientists. It was about time to connect some dots!

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