Adaptation and reaction-time techniques were used to examine the role of different spatial-frequency channels in the perception of local and global structure. Subjects were shown figures consisting of a large C composed of smaller Cs and asked to identify the orientation of either the global C or its local elements. Prior to performing the task subjects were adapted to different spatial frequencies and the effect on subsequent performance was assessed. Two main results were found. First, the adapting frequency that most affected the global task was often lower than that most affecting the local task, suggesting that high and low frequencies independently code the structure of an image. Second, reaction time to global figures was often faster than to local figures at all levels of detectability, again suggesting a role of low-frequency channels in global processing.