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Katarzyna Jaworska, Martin Lages; Fluctuations of visual awareness: Combining motion-induced blindness with binocular rivalry. Journal of Vision 2014;14(11):11. doi: 10.1167/14.11.11.
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Binocular rivalry (BR) and motion-induced blindness (MIB) are two phenomena of visual awareness where perception alternates between multiple states despite constant retinal input. Both phenomena have been extensively studied, but the underlying processing remains unclear. It has been suggested that BR and MIB involve the same neural mechanism, but how the two phenomena compete for visual awareness in the same stimulus has not been systematically investigated. Here we introduce BR in a dichoptic stimulus display that can also elicit MIB and examine fluctuations of visual awareness over the course of each trial. Exploiting this paradigm we manipulated stimulus characteristics that are known to influence MIB and BR. In two experiments we found that effects on multistable percepts were incompatible with the idea of a common oscillator. The results suggest instead that local and global stimulus attributes can affect the dynamics of each percept differently. We conclude that the two phenomena of visual awareness share basic temporal characteristics but are most likely influenced by processing at different stages within the visual system.
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