Color filling-in under steady fixation: Behavioral demonstration in monkeys and humans

Howard S. Friedman, Hong Zhou, Rüdiger Von Der Heydt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Color filling-in is a phenomenon in which the color of an object appears to be filled-in by the color of the surrounding field. We have studied the question of whether monkeys perceive color filling-in with near-foveal stimuli under steady fixation. Two monkeys were trained to fixate steadily and to attend to a disk, surrounded by an annulus of the complementary color, in parafoveal vision Using displays in which the color of the disk was gradually changed to that of the annulus, we trained the animals to signal when they perceived a uniform color field. During the experiment we introduced a small percentage of trials in which the disk color remained constant, and looked for 'filling-in' responses in these trials. Three human subjects were also tested for comparison. All subjects produced 'filling-in' responses with frequencies that were significantly higher for static disks with blurred borders than for moving disks or disks with sharp borders. This indicates that the monkeys' responses reflected perceptual filling-in, rather than random behavior. The time course of filling-in was similar in monkeys and humans. For the blurred static disks, responses occurred first after 3-4 s of fixation, reaching a probability of 0.2-0.8 by the end of 6 s, depending on the subject.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1383-1395
Number of pages13
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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