September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Neural, functional, and aesthetic impact of spatially heterogeneous (multistable) flicker
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melisa Menceloglu
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
  • Marcia Grabowecky
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
    Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Northwestern University
  • Satoru Suzuki
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
    Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Northwestern University
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 166. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.166
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      Melisa Menceloglu, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki; Neural, functional, and aesthetic impact of spatially heterogeneous (multistable) flicker. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):166. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.166.

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

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Abstract

Spatially heterogeneous flicker abounds in nature, fire flames, water surfaces, rustling leaves, etc., and are typically pleasant to observe. One way in which spatially heterogeneous flicker is special is that it is multistable, allowing sensory activation that conforms to the biases of the visual system, resulting in the perception of spontaneous motions and the calibration of the motion detectors. In this sense, heterogeneous flicker may provide especially “natural” signals to the visual system, engaging fluent processes with minimal engagements of top-down controls. Consistent with this idea, multistable flicker (relative to the control flicker with matching local and global temporal statistics) reduced posterior EEG beta power implicated in long-range neural interactions associated with top-down influences that impose constraints on sensory signals. Further, the degree of multistability, the amount of beta-power reduction, and the aesthetic rating of flicker were closely associated. These results are consistent with the idea that the pleasantness of spatially heterogeneous flicker in nature may derive from its multistability that affords fluent and self-calibrating visual processing.

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