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Atten Percept Psychophys. 2010 Jan;72(1):179-86. doi: 10.3758/APP.72.1.179.

What causes alternations in dominance during binocular rivalry?

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Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Wilson Hall, 111 21st Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37240, USA.


Several mechanisms have been proposed to account for perceptual alterations during binocular rivalry, including neural adaptation and neural noise. However, the importance of neural adaptation for producing perceptual alterations has been challenged in several articles (Y.-J. Kim, Grabowecky, & Suzuki, 2006; Moreno-Bote, Rinzel, & Rubin, 2007). We devised an "online" adaptation procedure to reexamine the role of adaptation in binocular rivalry. Periods of adaptation inserted into rivalry observation periods parametrically alter the dynamics of rivalry such that increased adaptation duration decreases dominance duration, which cannot be accounted for by neural noise. Analysis of the average dominance durations and their variance (coefficient of variation) provides evidence for an increasingly important role of noise in rivalry alternations as a given dominance period continues in time, consistent with recent computational models.

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