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David Carmel, Vincent Walsh, Nilli Lavie, Geraint Rees; A causal role for right parietal cortex in binocular rivalry demonstrated with TMS. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):790. doi: 10.1167/8.6.790.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Binocular rivalry occurs when dissimilar images are presented to the two eyes: the images compete for perceptual dominance, with each image visible in turn for a few seconds while the other is suppressed from awareness. Previous neuroimaging research has shown that right parietal and frontal cortical regions are involved in the perceptual transitions of rivalry. However, the correlational nature and coarse temporal resolution of neuroimaging preclude the attribution of a causal role to this activity, which may simply reflect attentional orienting to the perceptual transition. Here we used repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to investigate the role of parietal cortex in rivalry. Volunteers (n = 6) participated in three testing sessions, each conducted on a different day: In one they received no stimulation; in the other two they received 30 minutes of 1 Hz TMS stimulation at 90% motor-threshold, to either right superior parietal cortex or to the homologous point in left parietal cortex. Following stimulation (or immediately in the no-TMS condition) they viewed a rivalry display (orthogonally-oriented Gabor patches, one presented to each eye) and reported their percepts continuously for ten minutes, by holding a different key down for each dominant stimulus. We found that stimulation of right parietal cortex shortened dominance durations in binocular rivalry, compared to no TMS and left parietal TMS. These results demonstrate a causal role for right parietal cortex in rivalry. Furthermore, they suggest that right parietal cortex maintains perceptual states during rivalry rather than initiating perceptual transitions.
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