The color phi phenomenon is a perceptual illusion in the visual domain which was demonstrated in an experiment by Kolers and von Grunau (1976). The experiment is as follows. A sequence of coloured (usually red and green) dots is presented in a way that the illusion of motion is created. At a certain point in the sequence, the color of the dots that are presented changes abruptly, say from green to red. At the end of the sequence, participants are asked to report what they saw. What is interesting in this case is that participants report seeing the abrupt color change before the second dot (i.e. with the different color) is actually presented.

Now I certainly have some questions on the procedure concerning the spacing and the interstimulus interval used and to what extent they are crucial to the color phi phenomenon.Unfortunately, I don't have access to the original article and I could not find anything on the web so if anyone knows anything, feel free to address those points.

However my main concern is this:

  • Q: Has anyone attempted to explain the color phi phenomenon in neuroscientific terms, that is, identifying a neural mechanism responsible for this illusion?
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any big difference between color phi phenomenon and just a phi phenomenon, the reason all computer animation works? $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @TomášZato The color phi phenomenon is a bit more complex version of the phi phenomenon. The experiment I described was designed after the philosopher Nelson Goodman suggested adding the variable of color to the phi phenomenon. Also, the results of the color phi phenomenon include the strange reports I mention above. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ I've read that, but wasn't aware of this being weird or different. My unprofessional conclusion is that brain just calculates the average and then makes you forget all that cheating so you don't kill him. But I take it the question how is this done and I'm really interested in the answer. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ @TomášZato That is a plausible explanation, certainly more plausible than the one proposed by Penrose and Hameroff but even if this is the case, the real question is deeper as you pointed out. How is this realized in the brain? $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ I guess we'll need living man's brain and some ugly sharp things to answer that. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 22:21


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