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Marnix Naber, Wolfgang Einhäuser; Rivalry in tri-stable stimuli: Dominance durations predict the upcoming perceptual state. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):301. doi: 10.1167/9.8.301.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When confronted with incomplete or ambiguous information, the visual system has to choose a stimulus interpretation from several alternatives. Rivalry, the situation in which all perceptual alternatives show a similar degree of veridicality, provides an ideal psychophysical test bed for such vision under ambiguity. Typical rivalry paradigms, however, involve only two alternatives, either between two eyes or two interpretations of a single figure. During continuous viewing of such a bi-stable stimulus, the probability of a particular perceptual state to occur cannot be disentangled from its average dominance duration. Here we use a tri-stable stimulus, a moving plaid with 3 perceptual alternatives (A, B, or C). We find that whether a second switch goes back to the initial percept (A-B-A) or to the third percept (A-B-C) depends on the preceding dominance durations. The relative duration of B as compared to A predicts the following percept (either A or C) with up to 81% accuracy. Our results do not only imply that the transition probability between perceptual states depends on the perceptual history, but also rule out single-process adaptation accounts of rivalry.
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