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Ying Wang, Li Wang, Qian Xu, Dong Liu, Yi Jiang; Domain-specific genetic influence on visual ambiguity resolution. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):192. doi: 10.1167/13.9.192.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
What we see is seemingly definite, belying the fact that the visual inputs are flooded with ambiguities. Generally, the visual system resolves the ambiguity almost instantaneously, e.g., recognize either the profile or the frontal view of a maiden from a Picasso’s painting even before noticing the alternative. By contrast, the perceived content at first glance varies dramatically from one person to another, resulting in idiosyncratic onset bias that challenges the conformity of vision. What drives the discrepancy between individuals in their conscious resolution of the physically ambiguous stimuli? Using a twin method that allows us to identify the determinant of individual difference, we dissociate the role of gene from environment in the process of visual disambiguation. Specifically, monozygotic twins (with identical genes) are more similar than dizygotic twins (sharing 50% genes) in the immediate perception of bistable biological motion but not generic object motion, indicating a domain-specific genetic influence on the way human brain making sense of biological entity. These results challenge the prevalent view that learning-based statistics is the major source of conscious perception, and suggest that part of the disposition of what we turn out to see from relevant yet inconclusive visual information is programmed in the genes.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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