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Jenny M. Bosten, Donald I. A. MacLeod; Mechanisms of the dimming and brightening aftereffects. Journal of Vision 2013;13(6):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.6.11.
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Dimming and brightening aftereffects occur after exposure to a temporal luminance sawtooth stimulus: A subsequently presented steady test field appears to become progressively dimmer or brighter, depending on the polarity of the adapting sawtooth. Although described as “dimming” and “brightening,” it is plausible that a component of the aftereffects is based on contrast changes rather than on luminance changes. We conducted two experiments to reveal any contrast component. In the first we investigated whether the aftereffects result from the same mechanism that causes a polarity-selective loss in contrast sensitivity following luminance sawtooth adaptation. We manipulated test contrast: If a component of the aftereffect results from a polarity selective loss of contrast sensitivity we would expect that the aftereffects would differ in magnitude depending on the contrast polarity of the test fields. We found no effect of test-field polarity. In the second experiment we used an adapting sawtooth with a polarity consistent in contrast but alternating in luminance in order to induce a potential equivalent aftereffect of contrast. Again, we found no evidence that the aftereffects result from contrast adaptation. In a third experiment, we used S-cone isolating stimuli to discover whether there are S-cone dimming and brightening aftereffects. We found no aftereffects. However, in a fourth experiment we replicated Krauskopf and Zaidi's (1986) finding that adaptation to S-cone sawtooth stimuli affects thresholds for increment and decrement detection. The mechanism underlying the dimming and brightening aftereffects thus seems to be independent of the mechanism underlying the concurrent polarity selective reductions in contrast sensitivity.
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