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Min Bao, Jianying Bai, Xue Dong, Sheng He; Monocular deprivation of Fourier phase information boosts the deprived eye's dominance during interocular competition but not interocular phase combination. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):487. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.487.
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Ocular dominance has been extensively studied, often with the goal to understand neuroplasticity, which is a key characteristic within the critical period. Recent work on monocular deprivation, however, demonstrates residual neuroplasticity in the adult visual cortex. After deprivation of patterned inputs by monocular patching, the patched eye becomes more dominant. Since patching blocks both the Fourier amplitude and phase information of the input image, it remains unclear whether deprivation of the Fourier phase information alone is able to reshape eye dominance. One way to answer this question is to test whether the eye dominance shifts or not after one eye is deprived of the phase-aligned frequencies describing contours and higher level spatial representations, on the premise that the Fourier amplitude spectra of the visual inputs remain identical across the two eyes. Here, for the first time, we show that removing of the phase regularity without changing the amplitude spectra of the input image induced a shift of eye dominance towards the deprived eye, but only if the eye dominance was measured with a binocular rivalry task rather than an interocular phase combination task. These different results indicate that the two measurements are supported by different mechanisms. Phase integration requires the fusion of monocular images. The fused percept highly relies on the weights of the phase-sensitive monocular neurons that respond to the two monocular images. However, binocular rivalry reflects the result of direct interocular competition that strongly weights the contour information transmitted along each monocular pathway. Monocular phase deprivation may not change the weights in the integration (fusion) mechanism much, but alters the balance in the rivalry (competition) mechanism. Our work suggests that ocular dominance plasticity may occur at different stages of visual processing, and that homeostatic compensation also occurs for the lack of phase regularity in natural scenes.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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