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Optical illusions have long been a source of fascination and wonder, both for scientists and the general public. One particularly compelling illusion, which has recently received significant attention on social media and in academic circles, is the McCollough Effect. This phenomenon not only provides insight into the complexity of human perception, but also challenges our understanding of how it works visual system off. This article provides an in-depth exploration of the McCollough Effect, highlights the scientific experiments that support its design, and discusses the possible implications of this fascinating visual illusion.

McCollough Effect

The McCollough effect, named after the American psychologist Celeste McCollough Howard who discovered it in the late 60s, is characterized by a special visual aftermath.

After staring at colored gratings for extended periods of time, individuals experience an unexpected color change when later looking at black and white stripes.

This phenomenon is called a ‘contingent aftereffect’ because it depends on specific preceding visual effects experiences.

The effect illustrates the power of our visual perception to adapt and respond to the visual environment.


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