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Gabriel J. Vigano, Ryan T. Maloney, Colin W. G. Clifford; Transparent surface segregation enables visual feature binding in rapidly alternating displays. Journal of Vision 2015;15(9):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.9.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual feature binding—the mechanism by which our typically coherent and unified perceptual experience arises from distributed neural representations—is the source of much intrigue in the neuroscience of perception. Surprisingly, feature binding can occur in rapidly alternating displays of color–orientation combinations (e.g., rightward–orange, leftward–blue). However, we found that when the angular separation between orientations is reduced, binding is selectively impaired at temporal alternation frequencies around 5 Hz. To isolate the mechanisms involved, we devised a novel display in which color–orientation conjunction information was distributed temporally over two checkered stimuli and was perceptually discriminable only within an intermediate range of temporal frequencies (7.5–15 Hz). We propose that accurate color–orientation judgments at frequencies exceeding 5 Hz depend on the rapid formation of persistent surface representations that can be accessed by binding mechanisms, circumventing the latter's relatively low temporal resolution.
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