British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 60 Issue 2 (May 1969), Pages 149-285


Eight experiments on figural after‐effects (FAEs) are reported. The roles of induced set, and of experience in making judgements in a set‐free environment, were analysed. It was found that set can play a dominant part in the generation, or pseudo‐generation, of FAEs. Unless exceptional precautions are taken, set is likely to contaminate most reports of FAEs, and this factor probably accounts for most of the conflicting reports in the literature. In particular, it was shown that attempts to assess the relative importance of apparent size and retinal size in FAE situations can be vitiated by failure to control set. Two attempts to measure orientation‐specific FAEs in experienced, but set‐free, subjects met with limited success, and tended to confirm the interpretation of FAEs as functions of the coding system inherent in mammalian visual receptive field organization.

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