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Alexander Pastukhov, Jochen Braun; Cumulative history quantifies the role of neural adaptation in multistable perception. Journal of Vision 2011;11(10):12. doi: 10.1167/11.10.12.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Neural adaptation plays an important role in multistable perception, but its effects are difficult to discern in sequences of perceptual reversals. Investigating the multistable appearance of kinetic depth and binocular rivalry displays, we introduce cumulative history as a novel statistical measure of adaptive state. We show that cumulative history—an integral of past perceptual states, weighted toward the most recent states—significantly and consistently correlates with future dominance durations: the larger the cumulative history measure, the shorter are future dominance times, revealing a robust effect of neural adaptation. The characteristic time scale of cumulative history, which may be computed by Monte Carlo methods, correlates with average dominance durations, as expected for a measure of neural adaptation. When the cumulative histories of two competing percepts are balanced, perceptual reversals take longer and their outcome becomes random, demonstrating that perceptual reversals are fluctuation-driven in the absence of adaptational bias. Our findings quantify the role of neural adaptation in multistable perception, which accounts for approximately 10% of the variability of reversal timing.
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