Matching and cancellation techniques were used to measure the relative strength of the Ehrenstein illusion in dark figures on a light background (negative contrast) and light figures on a dark background (positive contrast). Brightness enhancement on the former was shown to be maximally 0.28 log unit (relative to the detection threshold), and darkness enhancement on the latter 0.43 log unit. Values differed little with figure-ground contrast (down to a minimum of +/- 0.5), but decreased with decreasing level of illumination. The luminance increment (decrement) needed to match the illusory brightness (darkness) was similar in size to the luminance decrement (increment) needed to cancel the illusion. The increment threshold for a small test flash measured in three locations relative to the subjective contour delineating the illusion did not differ systematically. The results are compatible with a neurophysiological explanation of the Ehrenstein illusion in terms of line-induced lateral interaction in hypercomplex receptive fields.