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Fusion and rivalry are dependent on the perceptual meaning of visual stimuli

Andrews, T.J. and Lotto, R.B. (2004) Fusion and rivalry are dependent on the perceptual meaning of visual stimuli. Current Biology, 14 (5). pp. 418-423. ISSN 0960-9822

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Abstract

We view the world with two eyes and yet are typically only aware of a single, coherent image. Arguably the simplest explanation for this is that the visual system unites the two monocular stimuli into a common stream that eventually leads to a single coherent sensation [1]. However, this notion is inconsistent with the well-known phenomenon of rivalry; when physically different stimuli project to the same retinal location, the ensuing perception alternates between the two monocular views in space and time [2]. Although fundamental for understanding the principles of binocular vision and visual awareness, the mechanisms under-lying binocular rivalry remain controversial [3] and [4]. Specifically, there is uncertainty about what determines whether monocular images undergo fusion or rivalry. By taking advantage of the perceptual phenomenon of color contrast, we show that physically identical monocular stimuli tend to rival—not fuse—when they signify different objects at the same location in visual space. Conversely, when physically different monocular stimuli are likely to represent the same object at the same location in space, fusion is more likely to result. The data suggest that what competes for visual awareness in the two eyes is not the physical similarity between images but the similarity in their perceptual/empirical meaning.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 14:56
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2009 14:56
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2004.02.030
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.02.030
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5945

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