The high level basis of body adaptation

Kevin Brooks*, Colin W. G. Clifford, Richard J Stevenson, Jonathan Mond, Ian D. Stephen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Prolonged visual exposure, or ‘adaptation’, to thin (wide) bodies causes a perceptual aftereffect such that subsequently seen bodies appear wider (thinner) than they actually are. Here, we conducted two experiments investigating the effect of rotating the orientation of the test stimuli by 90° from that of the adaptor. Aftereffects were maximal when adapting and test bodies had the same orientation. When they differed, the axis of the perceived distortion changed with the orientation of the body. Experiment 1 demonstrated a 58% transfer of the aftereffect across orientations. Experiment 2 demonstrated an even greater degree of aftereffect transfer when the influence of low-level mechanisms was reduced further by using adaptation and test stimuli with different sizes. These results indicate that the body aftereffect is mediated primarily by high-level object-based processes, with low-level retinotopic mechanisms playing only a minor role. The influence of these low-level processes is further reduced when test stimuli differ in size from adaptation stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Article number172103
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • adaptation
  • aftereffects
  • body size and shape misperception
  • high level
  • low level

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