The contribution of local and global motion adaptation in the repulsive direction aftereffect

Alan L.F. LEE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


After adapting to a certain motion direction, our perception of a similar direction will be repelled away from the adapting direction, a phenomenon known as the direction aftereffect (DAE). As the motion system consists of local and global processing stages, it remains unclear how the adaptation of the two stages contributes in producing the DAE. The present study addresses this question by independently inducing adaptation at local and global motion-processing levels. Local adaptation was manipulated by presenting test stimuli at either adapted or nonadapted locations. Global adaptation was manipulated by embedding one or five global motion directions in the adapting motion. Repulsive DAE, when measured using a multiple-element test pattern, was stronger when it was produced by global adaptation than when produced by local adaptation. Specifically, the DAE resulting from local adaptation (a) decreased when test orientations differed from adapting orientation, (b) decreased when local directions were disambiguated using plaid stimuli, (c) remained the same even when attention was focused at specific test locations during adaptation, and (d) increased when tested with a single element. Overall, these findings suggest that the strength of repulsive DAE depends on both the motion-processing level at which adaptation occurs and the level at which the DAE was tested. Furthermore, the repulsive DAE arising from local adaptation alone can be explained by the propagation of local speed repulsion instead of local direction repulsion. Findings are discussed in the context of how motion aftereffects arise from the adaptation of a hierarchical motion system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by the Initial Research Activities Fund (102236) from Lingnan University, Hong Kong.


  • Attention
  • Direction aftereffect
  • Hierarchical processing
  • Motion adaptation
  • Repulsive aftereffect


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