After images

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After images by StingrayZ - This image serves as an accurate portrayal of the commonly experienced psychedelic effect known as after images. There is also a significant amount of visual drifting within its background.

After images are a visual distortion that can be described as an image continuing to appear in one's vision after exposure to the original image has ceased.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] A common form of after image is the bright glow that seems to float in one's vision after looking into a light source for a few seconds. This effect is similar to tracers, but differs in that it does not create smooth blurs behind moving objects.

During hallucinogenic experiences, still overlayed images of moving objects are commonly left in place of where the object once was.[9][12][13][14][15][16] This creates a series of overlayed images across one's visual field which become less distinct the further away they are from the moving object's current position. Another manifestation of this effect can be described as being able to see the external environment for several seconds after one closes their eyes before it gradually fades away.

After images are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as tracers[2][4][9][13][17][18] and drifting.[8] They are most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.[4][14][15][19][20] However, trailing effects have also been experienced with other drugs of a very different pharmacology, such as GABA potentiators.[12][14]

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

Experience reports

Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:

See also

External links


  1. Kawasaki, A., & Purvin, V. (1996). Persistent palinopsia following ingestion of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Archives of Ophthalmology, 114(1), 47-50.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Abraham, H. D., & Wolf, E. (1988). Visual function in past users of LSD: Psychophysical findings. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97(4), 443.
  3. Abraham HD. Hallucinogen-related disorders. In: Sadock BJ, Sadock VA, eds. Kaplan and Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, seventh edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins, 2000:1015–1024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Abraham, H. D., Mccann, U. D., & Ricaurte, G. A. (2002). Psychedelic drugs.
  5. Bressloff, P. C., Cowan, J. D., Golubitsky, M., Thomas, P. J., & Wiener, M. C. (2001). Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidean symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 356(1407), 300.
  6. Kluver, H. 1966 Mescal and mechanisms and hallucinations. University of Chicago Press.
  7. Kleinman, J. E., Gillin, J. C., & Wyatt, R. J. (1977). A comparison of the phenomenology of hallucinogens and schizophrenia from some autobiographical accounts. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 3(4), 562.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Papoutsis, I., Nikolaou, P., Stefanidou, M., Spiliopoulou, C., & Athanaselis, S. (2015). 25B-NBOMe and its precursor 2C-B: modern trends and hidden dangers. Forensic Toxicology, 33(1), 1-11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Abraham, H. D. (1983). Visual phenomenology of the LSD flashback. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 40(8), 886-887.
  10. Kraus, R. P. (1996). Visual" trails" with nefazodone treatment. The American journal of psychiatry, 153(10), 1365.
  11. Sunness, J. S. (2004). Persistent afterimages (palinopsia) and photophobia in a patient with a history of LSD use. Retina, 24(5), 805.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dubois, J., & VanRullen, R. (2011). Visual trails: do the doors of perception open periodically?. PLoS biology, 9(5), e1001056.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Anderson, W. H., & O'Malley, J. E. (1972). Trifluoperazine for the trailing phenomenon. JAMA, 220(9), 1244-1245.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Fontenelle, L. F. (2008). Topiramate-induced palinopsia. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 20(2), 249-250.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Horton, J. C., & Trobe, J. D. (1999). Akinetopsia from nefazodone toxicity. American journal of ophthalmology, 128(4), 530-531.
  16. Ermentrout B. The excited cortex - LSD trails, phosphenes, and other visual confections. 1999. 201 Eighth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; July 1999. Abstracts.
  17. Asher, H. (1971). Trailing” phenomenon–a long-lasting LSD side effect. Am J Psychiatry, 127(9), 1233-4.
  18. Schwartz, K. (1997). Nefazodone and visual side effects. The American journal of psychiatry, 154(7), 1038.
  19. Halberstadt, A. L. (2015). Recent advances in the neuropsychopharmacology of serotonergic hallucinogens. Behavioural brain research, 277, 99-120.
  20. Lauterbach, E., Abdelhamid, A., & Annandale, J. B. (2000). Posthallucinogen-like visual illusions (palinopsia) with risperidone in a patient without previous hallucinogen exposure: possible relation to serotonin 5HT2a receptor blockade. Pharmacopsychiatry, 33(01), 38-41.