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Zhimin Chen, Gerrit W. Maus, David Whitney, Rachel N. Denison; Filling-in rivalry: Perceptual alternations in the absence of retinal image conflict. Journal of Vision 2017;17(1):8. https://doi.org/10.1167/17.1.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
During perceptual rivalry, an observer's perceptual experience alternates over time despite constant sensory stimulation. Perceptual alternations are thought to be driven by conflicting or ambiguous retinal image features at a particular spatial location and modulated by global context from surrounding locations. However, rivalry can also occur between two illusory stimuli—such as two filled-in stimuli within the retinal blind spot. In this “filling-in rivalry,” what observers perceive in the blind spot changes in the absence of local stimulation. It remains unclear if filling-in rivalry shares common mechanisms with other types of rivalry. We measured the dynamics of rivalry between filled-in percepts in the blind spot, finding a high degree of exclusivity (perceptual dominance of one filled-in percept, rather than a perception of transparency), alternation rates that were highly consistent for individual observers, and dynamics that closely resembled other forms of perceptual rivalry. The results suggest that mechanisms common to a wide range of rivalry situations need not rely on conflicting retinal image signals.
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