Image-based grouping during binocular rivalry is dictated by eye-of-origin

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Prolonged viewing of dichoptically presented images with different content results in perceptual alternations known as binocular rivalry. This phenomenon is thought to be the result of competition at a local level, where local rivalry zones interact to give rise to a single, global dominant percept. Certain perceived combinations that result from this local competition are known to last longer than others, which is referred to as grouping during binocular rivalry. In recent years, the phenomenon has been suggested to be the result of competition at both eye- and image-based processing levels, although the exact contribution from each level remains elusive. Here we use a paradigm designed specifically to quantify the contribution of eye- and image-based processing to grouping during rivalry. In this paradigm we used sine-wave gratings as well as upright and inverted faces, with and without binocular disparity-based occlusion. These stimuli and conditions were used because they are known to result in processing at different stages throughout the visual processing hierarchy. Specifically, more complex images were included in order to maximize the potential contribution of image-based grouping. In spite of this, our results show that increasing image complexity did not lead to an increase in the contribution of image-based processing to grouping during rivalry. In fact, the results show that grouping was primarily affected by the eye-of-origin of the image parts, irrespective of stimulus type. We suggest that image content affects grouping during binocular rivalry at low-level processing stages, where it is intertwined with eye-of-origin information.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere95327
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2014


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