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Measurement of Perceptual Effects of Afterimages Proposal

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Updated: Oct 29th, 2020


Afterimages can be defined as optical illusions that appear on neutral backgrounds after focusing on some image or images for a long period of time (Ritschel & Eisemann, 2012). The mechanism of afterimage perception is complex and not entirely understood. However, it is considered that afterimages are mainly associated with the functioning of the eye retina (Spillmann & Werner, 2012).

The impact of the background on afterimages perception is still under-researched. Furthermore, little attention has also been paid towards the impact of certain stimuli on the process of people’s perception. Sound effects can affect people’s behaviour and perceptions. The purpose of the project is to explore further into the mechanisms of human brightness perceptions in the situation of changing luminance and changing stimuli.

Aims and Research Questions

The research aims to detect electrophysiological correlates of afterimages in humans and to report possible oscillatory responses of the visual system. The findings will allow the researchers to examine whether people have similar effects behaviourally as compared to the electrophysiological impact. The electrophysiological effects will be evaluated with the help of sound effects (beeps). The project will also enable the researchers to understand whether it is possible to detect low-contrast stimuli. The project will aim to answer the following questions:

  1. Does an afterimage make a subsequent stimulus easier to be detected?
  2. Do individuals get similar effects behaviorally and electrophysiologically?
  3. Is it possible to detect low-contrast stimuli more effectively?


The estimated total number of participants is ten. The participants will be randomly divided into two groups. They will be individuals aged between 20 and 35 years old. Other variables, such as gender, ethnicity, education, etc., will be disregarded as they are irrelevant in terms of the goals of this project. It is also necessary to make sure that the participants do not have any visual impairments as they can affect the results of the experiment. The experiment will be administered in two phases. First, the participants will look at a high-contrast vertical grading image (chosen randomly) on a white background for 30 seconds.

After a beep, the participants will be given high-contrast vertical grading backgrounds. The participants will be conditioned a blank background before presenting the images on the high-contrast vertical grading background for 30 seconds. The researchers will concentrate on the changes in people’s perceptions (if any) after the change of the background. The second stage of the experiment will be similar to the first one, but the change of the backgrounds will occur without additional markers, such as beeps. The results of the two experiments will be compared. The focus will be on the participants’ perceptions of images associated with changing backgrounds and sound effects.

Statistical Procedures

The linear regression will be administered to control confounding variables, i.e. age, gender, etc., to reduce possible biases associated with them. The given tool allows examining the links between distinct covariates (demographic and multicultural indicators) and a numeric outcome (perceptional and retinal response to a breach). The use of the multiple regression test can be instrumental in identifying the correlation between stimuli changes and responses (Creswell, 2013). The multiple regression will be employed, as several variables are under analysis. The researchers will focus on the participants’ perceptions of the images on different backgrounds and their perception of the images that are changed with certain sound effects.

Ethical Issues

In any research that implies the involvement of respondents, it is important to take into account participants’ confidentiality. The term confidentiality implies “the process of protecting an individual’s privacy” or, in other words, non-violation of a person’s control over “the extent, timing, and circumstances of sharing oneself (physically, behaviorally, or intellectually) with others” (“Privacy and confidentiality,” n.d., para. 1-2). In some cases, by disclosing private information of study participants, the researcher may harm their social identity and cause damage to their psychological well-being. Thus, adherence to this ethical standard is essential.

The peculiarities of the experiment are associated with other ethical concerns. For instance, the participants will be conditioned to look at some images. It can be beneficial to make sure that the pictures are neutral and will not cause any distress to the participants. It is possible to ask the participants whether they have any phobias or unpleasant memories associated with some objects. Therefore, the personal information the participants provide should include the data concerning unacceptable images.

Furthermore, researchers should obtain written consent as it is essential to inform the participants about the central details concerning the project (Robson & McCartan, 2016). The written consent will include the description of the major details of the research as well as its purpose. Confidentiality should be guaranteed in the written consent form.

Project Costs

The project costs will include the fees for renting the room and the necessary equipment to conduct the experiment as well as the monetary awards for the participants. The participants will be more motivated to invest their time if they receive a certain amount of money (Robson & McCartan, 2016). Each participant will receive $20, so $200 will be needed for the awards.


Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London, England: SAGE Publications.

. (n.d.). Web.

Ritschel, T., & Eisemann, E. (2012). A computational model of afterimages. Computer Graphics Forum, 31(2), 529-534.

Robson, C., & McCartan, K. (2016). Real world research. London, England: John Wiley & Sons.

Spillmann, L., & Werner, J. S. (2012). Visual perception: The neurophysiological foundations. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Measurement of Perceptual Effects of Afterimages." October 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/measurement-of-perceptual-effects-of-afterimages/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Measurement of Perceptual Effects of Afterimages'. 29 October.

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