Friday, July 8, 2011

Motion Aftereffects

On a typical summer day, I was at the beach in Longport. I jumped into the ocean to cool myself off and as I was walking out, I stopped and looked down at the water. The waves were moving out to the shoreline and then back. I watched this happen for a good minute or two. I then looked up at the lifeguard stand, which oddly, was moving. It dawned on me that I was experiencing motion aftereffects.

A motion aftereffect is when "... after viewing a moving stimulus for 30 to 60 seconds and then viewing a stationary stimulus, it appears to move." Going to the beach all summer is the standard for me, and almost daily I will just sit and stare at the water, but until I read about motion aftereffects, I did not realize what specifically was going on. The lifeguard stand in this instance really did appear to be moving. Perhaps it was because I was staring at the water for a longer sustained time, or because I knew about motion aftereffects, but nonetheless the lifeguard stand appeared to move even more than any other time. Experiencing a motion aftereffect was really interesting and weird, and I think I may need to stare at the waves again next time I go to the beach.

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