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Ryusuke Hayashi, Manabu Tanifuji; Which image is in awareness during binocular rivalry? Reading perceptual status from eye movements. Journal of Vision 2012;12(3):5. doi: 10.1167/12.3.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Binocular rivalry is a useful psychophysical tool to investigate neural correlates of visual consciousness because the alternation between awareness of the left and right eye images occurs without any accompanying change in visual input. The conventional experiments on binocular rivalry require participants to voluntarily report their perceptual state. Obtaining reliable reports from non-human primates about their subjective visual experience, however, requires long-term training, which has made electrophysiological experiments on binocular rivalry quite difficult. Here, we developed a new binocular rivalry stimulus that consists of two different object images that are phase-shifted to move in opposite directions from each other: One eye receives leftward motion while the other eye receives rightward motion, although both eyes' images are perceived to remain at the same position. Experiments on adult human participants showed that eye movements (optokinetic nystagmus, OKN) are involuntarily evoked during the observation of our stimulus. We also found that the evoked OKN can serve as a cue for accurate estimation about which object image was dominant during rivalry, since OKN follows the motion associated with the image in awareness at a given time. This novel visual presentation technique enables us to effectively explore the neural correlates of visual awareness using animal models.
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