Accommodating the Past: A Selective History of Adaptation

Nicholas Wade, Frans A. J. Verstraten

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines three adaptation phenomena: accommodation, motion aftereffects, and adjustments to optical distortions. By examining these in a historical context, it hopes to provide some useful pointers to studies of adaptation generally. Adaptation to objects at different distances from the eyes (accommodation) enables an animal to resolve its features adequately and to guide its actions appropriately. Adaptation to the constant characteristics of objects (like motion at a constant velocity) can increase sensitivity to objects moving at different velocities. Adaptation to optical distortions can reflect the longer-term adjustments in sensory-motor integration. Although this has been studied by imposing distortions (like optical inversion) on observers, it could be essentially the same process that accompanies growth in the size of the eyes or increases in their separation that occur during development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFitting the Mind to the World
Subtitle of host publicationAdaptation and Aftereffects in High-Level Vision
EditorsColin W. G. Clifford, Gillian Rhodes
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780191689697
ISBN (Print)9780198529699
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2005


  • accommodation
  • motion aftereffects
  • adaptations
  • optical distortions
  • sensory-motor integration
  • optical inversion


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