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Amanda Beers, Michael Slugocki, Terri Lewis, Allison Sekuler, Patrick Bennett; Characterizing perceptual alternations during binocular rivalry in children. Journal of Vision 2014;14(15):47. doi: 10.1167/14.15.47.
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The visual phenomenon of binocular rivalry has been thoroughly examined in adults, yet little is known about how characteristics of binocular rivalry may change from childhood to early adulthood. The current study used a child-friendly task, where pairs of orthogonal, oblique sine wave gratings were presented dichoptically to 7-, 9-, 11-year-olds and young adults. Stimuli size (diameter = 1.4 or 4.4) and contrast level (0.2 or 0.8), factors with well-known effects on rivalry in adults, varied across trials. On each trial, participants recorded their alternations between percepts on a handheld button box. The average duration and proportion of time participants reported viewing each type of percept (i.e., exclusive, mixed, and fading/other percepts) were analyzed. Children spent a significantly greater proportion of time viewing exclusive percepts and less time viewing mixed percepts compared to young adults, which provides evidence against the theory of increased mixed percepts in children (Kovacs & Eisenberg, 2005, Binocular Rivalry, pp. 101–116, Alais & Blake, Eds.). Sequential patterns of alternations between percepts also varied between children and young adults (e.g. “return transitions”). No significant differences were observed between age groups for average durations of exclusive percepts, contrary to previous reports suggesting faster alternation rates in children (Kovacs & Eisenberg, 2005; Hudak et al., 2011, Front. in Hum. Neurosci., 5, 1–7). No differences were observed between 7-, 9-, 11-year-olds for any dependent measure. These are the first reports of several characteristics of binocular rivalry in children, specifically measures of mixed percepts. Thus, providing a number of theoretical implications.
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