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Ralph Hale, James Brown; Examining the effect of context on the watercolor illusion. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):580. doi: 10.1167/18.10.580.
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The watercolor illusion (WCI) occurs when a physically non-colored region surrounded by an outer contour and an inner fringe of contrasting hue appears filled in with a pale tint the same hue as the fringe. Previous WCI research has focused primarily on stimulus parameters affecting illusion magnitude and the likely neural mechanisms responsible, rarely discussing how this phenomenon manifests within a more natural global framework. We were interested in how the global context influences the magnitude and spatial extent of the illusion. To address this, we examined the WCI using a variety of 3D solid surfaces and objects (Exp 1) and wireframe versions of them (Exp 2) as compared to more traditional 2D stimuli while keeping local information nearly identical across conditions. We also explored how simple global stimulus changes to more traditional 2D stimuli can influence the WCI by splitting them into multi-part open-ended stimuli (Exp 3). Previous research indicated the WCI should spread outward in the absence of a physical border like in our open-ended stimuli. Contrary to previous literature we found color does not spread outside of most of these physically opened configurations demonstrating that global configuration is an important factor in how color spreading manifests. This study is one of the first to explore how contextual information more typical of our visual experience influences color spreading.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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