VPEM Journal Club Meeting

Event Date

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 – 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Chuan Hou


Chuan will be presenting the following paper: Riesen et al., 2019, J. Neurosci, "Humans Perceive Binocular Rivalry and Fusion in a Tristable Dynamic State".


Human vision combines inputs from the two eyes into one percept. Small differences “fuse” together, whereas larger differences are seen “rivalrously” from one eye at a time. These outcomes are typically treated as mutually exclusive processes, with paradigms targeting one or the other and fusion being unreported in most rivalry studies. Is fusion truly a default, stable state that only breaks into rivalry for non-fusible stimuli? Or are monocular and fused percepts three sub-states of one dynamical system? To determine whether fusion and rivalry are separate processes, we measured human perception of Gabor patches with a range of interocular orientation disparities. Observers (10 female, 5 male) reported rivalrous, fused, and uncertain percepts over time. We found a dynamic “tristable” zone spanning from  25–35° of orientation disparity where fused, left-eye-, or right-eye-dominant percepts could all occur. The temporal characteristics of fusion and non-fusion periods during tristability matched other bistable processes. We tested statistical models with fusion as a higher-level bistable process alternating with rivalry against our findings. None of these fit our data, but a simple bistable model extended to have three states reproduced many of our observations. We conclude that rivalry and fusion are multistable substates capable of direct competition, rather than separate bistable processes.


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