In 1984, he received a BSc from the Department of Biology, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan, where he studied animal psychology (burrowing behavior in rats) and (at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience) neuronal activity of the inferotemporal cortex in macaque monkeys.
After his 1991 PhD from the Institute of Psychology, University of Tsukuba, he specialized in visual perception and visual illusions of geometrical shape, brightness, color, in motion illusions and other visual phenomena like Gestalt completion and perceptual transparency, based on a modern conception of Gestalt Psychology.
He became renowned through his Rotating Snakes peripheral drift illusion (see below).
In 2006, he received the Gold Prize of the 9th L'ORÉAL Art and Science of Color contest.
- "Rotating snakes" can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes from the website (RIKEN institute project)
- Akiyoshi's illusion pages
- under the guidance of the late Japanese Gestalt psychologist and professor emeritus Osamu Fujita
- Noguchi, K., Kitaoka, A., and Takashima, M. (2008) Gestalt-oriented perceptual research in Japan: Past and present. Gestalt Theory, 30, 11-28
- Kitaoka, A. (2008) Cognitive psychology of visual illusion. Japanese Journal of Cognitive Psychology,5, 177-185 (in Japanese with English abstract)
- Kitaoka, A. (2007) Psychological approaches to art. Japanese Journal of Psychonomic Science,26, 97-102 (in Japanese with English abstract)
- Kitaoka, A. and Ashida, H. (2007) A variant of the anomalous motion illusion based upon contrast and visual latency. Perception, 36, 1019-1035.
- Like many of his motion illusions based on the interaction between the peripheral and the foveal visual system. Explanation details in German in: Hans-Werner Hunziker, (2006) Im Auge des Lesers: foveale und periphere Wahrnehmung - vom Buchstabieren zur Lesefreude, Transmedia Stäubli Verlag Zürich 2006 ISBN 978-3-7266-0068-6