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Rachel Denison, Elise Piazza, Michael Silver; Predictive context biases perceptual selection during binocular rivalry. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):312. doi: 10.1167/11.11.312.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Prediction may be a fundamental principle of sensory processing: it has been proposed that the brain continuously generates predictions about forthcoming sensory information. However, little is known about how prediction contributes to the selection of a conscious percept from among competing alternatives. Here, we used binocular rivalry to investigate the effects of prediction on perceptual selection. In binocular rivalry, incompatible images presented to the two eyes result in a perceptual alternation between the images, even though the visual stimuli remain constant. If predictive signals influence the competition between neural representations of rivalrous images, this influence should generate a bias in perceptual selection that depends on predictive context. To manipulate predictive context, we developed a novel binocular rivalry paradigm in which orthogonal rivalrous test gratings were immediately preceded by rotating gratings presented identically to the two eyes. One of the rivalrous gratings had an orientation that was consistent with the preceding rotation direction (it was the expected next image in the series), and the other had an inconsistent orientation. We found that human observers were more likely to perceive the consistent grating, suggesting that predictive context biased selection in favor of the predicted percept. This prediction effect depended on only recent stimulus history, and it could be dissociated from another stimulus history effect related to orientation-specific adaptation. Since binocular rivalry between orthogonal gratings is thought to be resolved at an early stage of visual processing, these results suggest that predictive signals may exist at low levels of the visual processing hierarchy and that these signals can bias conscious perception.
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