Celeste McCollough: Her Journey to become One of the Best
Celeste McCollough was a driven and smart woman that wanted to excel at everything she put her mind to. Her knowledge of psychology led her to share it with others who had the same passion for the subject so she began to teach at Olivet College in Michigan.
After teaching from 1954-1956 at Olivet, Oberlin College awarded her with a full-time teaching position in the Department of Psychology, making her the first woman to join it. For research purposes, she left the college to visit Canada to research about perceptual effects of wearing glasses tinted with two colors. Her discovery became known as the McCollough effect.
The McCollough effect is a visual phenomenon where a person perceives colorless gratings as colored. The person’s perception depends on the orientation and contingent of the gratings. In order to produce the effect, a person needs to be induced to see it.
For instance, you look at a red vertical grating and a green horizontal grating for a few minutes, going back and forth between them. After a while, a black and white vertical grating will appear pinkish. For this reason, the effect has come to be known as one of the most remarkable effects to date.
The Popularity of the Effect Explained
The McCollough effect is regarded as one of the most amazing illusions because its effects last for a long time. The effects might last for an hour or more, depending on the length of time you stare at it. In 1975, scientists, Holding and Jones, discovered that fifteen minutes of induction could increase the strength of the effect by three months. Furthermore, do not confuse the effect with colored afterimages, as both are two different phenomenons.
Colored afterimages are superimposed and do not last a long time, whereas the McCollough effect does not do either of these. One thing in common between the two is that both require a period of induction to work. Due to the long duration of the effect lasting, scientists went into hysteria to find out how the effect was produced.
How the Effect Functions?
With hundreds of explanations being thrown around about the McCollough effect, people narrowed down the barrage of explanations, saying that it was due to the sensitive neurons in lower monocular regions of the visual cortex. Additionally, another phenomenon came into existence, which was the anti-McCollough effect.
Alternating pairs of grating in parallel alignment, one black and white and a single color either red or black induce the anti-McCollough effect. The perceived shade is the same as the inducer shade and the effect is weaker.
We bet you are now curious to try the McCollough effect, but do not stare at it too long, as you know what happens if you do.