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Surya Gayet, Jan Brascamp, Stefan Van der Stigchel, Chris Paffen; Perception during binocular rivalry is biased by the content of visual working memory.. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1252. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1252.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
During binocular rivalry, dissimilar images presented dichoptically compete for conscious expression. Here, we investigate how the content of visual working memory (VWM) affects the competition between two images engaged in binocular rivalry. Trials in our experiments consisted of three phases: first, two colored patches, each taken from a different color category, were briefly presented, followed by an arrow cue indicating which of the two colors should be memorized for subsequent recall. Second, two orthogonal square-wave gratings, one gray and one colored, were presented dichoptically for 10 seconds. Participants were instructed to continuously report the orientation of the perceived grating (tilted clockwise or counterclockwise). In the third phase, three stimuli of slightly different hues were presented, and participants were required to select the memorized color. We analyzed perceptual dominance separately for trials where the color of the chromatic grating matched either (A) the memorized color, (B) the presented but discarded color and (C) a third unrelated color. The grating of the memorized color (A) and, to a lesser extent, of the discarded color (B) both enjoyed more perceptual dominance than their gray counterparts. However, only in the memorized condition (A) was this dominance imbalance larger than that in the unrelated color condition (C). Our results show that dominance durations during binocular rivalry were biased towards the stimulus matching the color held in VWM. Nonetheless, we advocate caution in the generalization of these findings, as a number of follow up experiments demonstrate that competition between more similar stimuli (i.e., both chromatic) is unaffected by the content of VWM. We conclude that the content of VWM has the potency to bias ocular dominance, but that further experimentation is required to get a complete grasp on the interaction between the content of VWM and perceptual dominance during binocular rivalry.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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