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J Vis. 2011 May 20;11(5). pii: 3. doi: 10.1167/11.5.3.

Adaptation and visual coding.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA.


Visual coding is a highly dynamic process and continuously adapting to the current viewing context. The perceptual changes that result from adaptation to recently viewed stimuli remain a powerful and popular tool for analyzing sensory mechanisms and plasticity. Over the last decade, the footprints of this adaptation have been tracked to both higher and lower levels of the visual pathway and over a wider range of timescales, revealing that visual processing is much more adaptable than previously thought. This work has also revealed that the pattern of aftereffects is similar across many stimulus dimensions, pointing to common coding principles in which adaptation plays a central role. However, why visual coding adapts has yet to be fully answered.

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