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Helen Quinn, Derek H. Arnold; Binocular rivalry and multi-stable perception: Independence and monocular channels. Journal of Vision 2010;10(10):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.10.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When discrepant images are shown to the two eyes, each can intermittently disappear. This is known as binocular rivalry (BR). The causes of BR are debated. One view is that BR is driven by a low-level visual process, characterized by competition between monocular channels. Another is that BR is driven by higher level processes involved in interpreting ambiguous input. This would link BR to other phenomena, wherein perception changes without input changes. We reasoned that if this were true, the timing of BR changes might be related to the timing of changes in other multi-stable stimuli. We tested this using combinations of simple (orthogonal gratings) and complex (pictures of houses and faces) stimuli. We also presented simple stimuli in conjunction with a stimulus that induced an ambiguous direction of rotation. We found that the timing of simple BR changes was unrelated to the timing of either complex BR changes or to direction changes within an ambiguous rotation. However, the timings of changes within proximate BR stimuli, both simple and complex, were related, but only when similar images were encoded in the same monocular channels. These observations emphasize the importance of monocular channel interactions in determining the timing of binocular rivalry changes.
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