Nonlinear optical properties of a standard dye IR26 have been studied by using the Z-scan technique to decipher the difference in the mechanism of nonlinear absorption on picosecond time scale at two wavelengths i.e. at 1064 nm and 532 nm. A prominent contribution of nonlinear absorption is observed in the Z-scan profiles at 1064 nm. The dye exhibits the mechanism of self-defocusing at 1064 nm in contrast to that of self-focusing at 532 nm. While the two photon absorption has been found to be the dominant mechanism of reverse saturable absorption at 1064 nm, the mechanism of excited state absorption is operating at 532 nm. Additionally, the optical phase conjugate geometry of degenerate four wave mixing (DFWM) technique has been used to measure the third order nonlinear susceptibility values at 532 nm to compare with those obtained from the Z-scan profiles. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.