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Oakyoon Cha, Gaeun Son, Sang Chul Chong, David A. Tovar, Randolph Blake; Novel procedure for generating continuous flash suppression: Seurat meets Mondrian. Journal of Vision 2019;19(14):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.14.1.
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Continuous flash suppression (CFS) entails presentation of a stationary target to one eye and an animated sequence of arrays of geometric figures, the mask, to the other eye. The prototypical CFS sequence comprises different sized rectangles of various colors, dubbed Mondrians. Presented as a rapid, changing sequence to one eye, Mondrians or other similarly constructed textured arrays can abolish awareness of the target viewed by the other eye for many seconds at a time, producing target suppression durations much longer than those associated with conventional binocular rivalry. We have devised an animation technique that replaces meaningless Mondrian figures with recognizable visual objects and scenes as inducers of CFS, allowing explicit manipulation of the visual semantic content of those masks. By converting each image of these CFS sequences into successively presented objects or scenes each comprised of many small, circular patches of color, we create pointillist CFS sequences closely matched in terms of their spatio-temporal power spectra. Randomly rearranging the positions of the pointillist patches scrambles the images so they are no longer recognizable. CFS sequences comprising a stream of different objects produces more robust interocular suppression than do sequences comprising a stream of different scenes, even when the two categories of CFS are matched in root mean square contrast and spatial frequency content. Factors promoting these differences in CFS potency could range from low-level, image-based features to high-level factors including attention and recognizability. At the same time, object- and scene-based CFS sequences, when themselves suppressed from awareness, do not differ in their durations of suppression, implying that semantic content of those images comprising CFS sequences are not registered during suppression. The pointillist technique itself offers a potentially useful means for examining the impact of high-level image meaning on aspects of visual perception other than interocular suppression.
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