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Jan W. Brascamp, Parker Cuthbert, Sam Ling; Conflict defined by global gestalt can modulate binocular rivalry suppression. Journal of Vision 2020;20(13):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.13.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Binocular rivalry suppression is thought to necessarily require local interocular conflict: the presence of incompatible image elements, such as orthogonal contours, in retinally corresponding regions of two monocular displays. Whether suppression can also be driven by conflict at the level of spatially nonlocal surface or object representations is unclear. Here, we kept local contour conflict constant while varying global conflict, defined by the gestalt formed by the two monocular displays. Specifically, each eye was presented with a grid of image elements (crosses or plusses), placed such that the two eyes’ individual grid elements did not directly overlap but the grids as a whole did. In a “shared motion” condition, all elements moved in unison, inviting a gestalt made up of all elements across both eyes; in a “different motions” condition, the elements’ trajectories differed between eyes, inviting a gestalt of two overlapping surfaces, each associated with one eye. Perceptual disappearances of image elements occurred more readily in the different motions condition, an observation that could not be explained by any between-condition differences in local contour conflict. In a second experiment, we furthermore established that, whereas perceptual disappearances in the shared motion condition tended to involve a single element at a time, in the different motions condition, multiple elements belonging to the same gestalt often disappeared together. These findings indicate that, even though binocular rivalry may critically rely on inhibition due to locally incompatible image elements, this inhibition also depends on the global gestalt to which these elements contribute.
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