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Jean-Michel Hupé, Camilo Miguel Signorelli, David Alais; Two paradigms of bistable plaid motion reveal independent mutual inhibition processes. Journal of Vision 2019;19(4):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.4.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Perception is sometimes bistable, switching between two possible interpretations. Levelt developed several propositions to explain bistable perception in binocular rivalry, based on a model of competing neural populations connected through reciprocal inhibition. Here we test Levelt's laws with bistable plaid motion. Plaids are typically tristable, either a coherent pattern, transparent with one component in front, or transparent with the opposite depth order. In Experiment 1, we use a large angle between component directions to prevent plaid coherence, limiting the ambiguity to alternations of grating depth order. Similar to increasing contrast in binocular rivalry, increasing component speed led to higher switch rates (analogous to Levelt's fourth proposition). In Experiment 2, we used occlusion cues to prevent one depth order and limit bistability to one transparent depth order alternating with coherence. Increasing grating speed shortened coherent motion periods but left transparent periods largely unchanged (analogous to Levelt's second proposition). Switch dynamics showed no correlation between the experiments. These data suggest that plaid component speed acts like contrast in binocular rivalry to vary switch dynamics through a mutual inhibition model. The lack of correlation between both experiments suggests reciprocal inhibition mediates bistability between a variety of neural populations across the visual system.
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