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Vision Res. 2005 Apr;45(8):955-60.

The Necker cube--an ambiguous figure disambiguated in early visual processing.

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  • 1Sektion Funktionelle Sehforschung, University Augenklinik Freiburg, Killianstr. 5, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


How can our percept spontaneously change while the observed object stays unchanged? This happens with ambiguous figures, like the Necker cube. Explanations favor either bottom-up factors in early visual processing, or top-down factors near awareness. The EEG has a high temporal resolution, so event related potentials (ERPs) may help to throw light on these alternative explanations. However, the precise point in time of neural correlates of perceptual reversal is difficult to estimate. We developed a paradigm that overcomes this problem and found an early (120 ms) occipital ERP signal correlated with endogenous perceptual reversal. Parallels of ambiguous-figure-reversal to binocular-rivalry-reversals are explored.

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