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Biol Cybern. 2009 Jun;100(6):491-504. doi: 10.1007/s00422-009-0301-1. Epub 2009 Apr 1.

Visual perception of ambiguous figures: synchronization based neural models.

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Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK.


We develop and study two neural network models of perceptual alternations. Both models have a star-like architecture of connections with a central element connected to a set of peripheral elements. A particular perception is simulated in terms of partial synchronization between the central element and some sub-group of peripheral elements. The first model is constructed from phase oscillators and the mechanism of perceptual alternations is based on chaotic intermittency under fixed parameter values. Similar to experimental evidence, the distribution of times between perceptual alternations is represented by the gamma distribution. The second model is built of spiking neurons of the Hodgkin-Huxley type. The mechanism of perceptual alternations is based on plasticity of inhibitory synapses which increases the inhibition from the central unit to the neural assembly representing the current percept. As a result another perception is formed. Simulations show that the second model is in good agreement with behavioural data on switching times between percepts of ambiguous figures and with experimental results on binocular rivalry of two and four percepts.

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