1977 volume 6(4) pages 407 – 433
doi:10.1068/p060407

Cite as:
Wade N J, 1977, "Distortions and disappearances of geometrical patterns" Perception 6(4) 407 – 433

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Distortions and disappearances of geometrical patterns

Nicholas J Wade

Received 4 October 1976

Abstract. Prolonged observation of a stationary grating has a number of perceptual consequences. Initially the lines appear well-resolved and straight. The lines then take on a wavy and oscillating appearance, which is followed by scintillation of the pattern. The scintillations are often accompanied by cloudy disappearances of the grating. A streaming or scintillating aftereffect is visible subsequently, upon viewing a homogeneous surface. The literature concerning these effects is reviewed and several experiments are reported which examined the apparent waviness and scintillating disappearances. The basis for the apparent waviness remains unresolved. It is suggested that the scintillations are produced by small involuntary eye movements over the contours and that the associated disappearances might be due to binocular rivalry.

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