September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Interocular Conflict Predicts Individual Differ-ences in Binocular Rivalry
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janine D Mendola
    Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University
  • Elizabeth A Bock
    Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Brain Imaging Centre, MNI
  • Jeremy D Fesi
    Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University
  • Sylvain Baillet
    Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Brain Imaging Centre, MNI
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 131. doi:
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      Janine D Mendola, Elizabeth A Bock, Jeremy D Fesi, Sylvain Baillet; Interocular Conflict Predicts Individual Differ-ences in Binocular Rivalry. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):131.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Introduction: Binocular rivalry (BR) is a dynamic visual illusion that provides insight into the cortical mechanisms of visual awareness, stimulus selection, and object identification. When dissimilar binocular images cannot be fused, perception switches every few seconds between the left and right eye images. The speed at which individuals switch between alternatives is a stable, partially heritable trait. In order to isolate the monocular and binocular processes that determine the speed of rivalry, we presented dichoptic stimuli tagged with a different flicker frequency in each eye and applied stimulus-phase locked magnetoenphalography (MEG) source imaging. We hypothesized that the strength of the evoked fundamental or intermodulation frequencies would vary when comparing Fast and Slow Switchers. Methods: Ten subjects participated in the experiment with three stimulus conditions: BR, a pattern rivalry control, and a nonrivalrous control condition. Subjects reported perceptual alternations with mean dominance durations between 1.2–4.0 sec. Results: During BR, event-related monocular input in V1, and broadly in higher-tier ventral temporal cortex, waxed and waned with the periods of left or right eye dominance/suppression. In addition, we show that Slow Switchers produce greater evoked intermodulation frequency responses in a cortical network composed of V1, lateral occipital, posterior STS, retrosplenial & superior parietal cortices. Importantly, these dominance durations were not predictable from the brain responses to either of the fundamental tagging frequencies in isolation, nor from any responses to a pattern rivalry control condition, or a non-rivalrous control. Conclusions: The novel cortical network isolated, which overlaps with the default-mode network, may contain neurons that compute the level of endogenous monocular difference, and monitor accumulation of this conflict over extended periods of time. These findings are the first to relate the speed of rivalry across observers to the ‘efficient coding’ theory of computing binocular differences that may apply to binocular vision generally.

Acknowledgement: National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada 

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