Metameric intransitivity

Abigail E. Huang, Alice J. Hon, Christopher W. Tyler, Eric L. Altschuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are two kinds of afterimages. In negative afterimages, looking at a blank field after staring at a colored figure gives a figure whose color is complementary to that of the original figure. Less well understood and studied is the phenomenon of induced positive afterimages, in which staring at a colored area surrounding a small white test patch produces an afterimage in which the hue of the surround is transferred into the previously white area. Using these differences between positive and negative afterimages and also simultaneous color contrast, which has an effect on a test patch different from either of the afterimage effects, we describe a new effect, metameric intransitivity, in which perceptually similar images can generate markedly different afterimages, whereas perceptually different images can generate indistinguishable afterimages. Supplemental figures depicting the stimuli, results, and method for generating the intransitive metamers in this study may be downloaded from

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-893
Number of pages3
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Metameric intransitivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this