A Primer on Binocular Rivalry, Including Current Controversies

Author: Blake, R.

Source: Brain and Mind, Volume 2, Number 1, April 2001 , pp. 5-38(34)

Publisher: Springer

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Among psychologists and vision scientists, binocular rivalry has enjoyed sustained interest for decades dating back to the 19th century. In recent years, however, rivalry's audience has expanded to include neuroscientists who envision rivalry as a ``tool'' for exploring the neural concomitants of conscious visual awareness and perceptual organization. For rivalry's potential to be realized, workers using this ``tool'' need to know details of this fascinating phenomenon, and providing those details is the purpose of this article. After placing rivalry in a historical context, I summarize major findings concerning the spatial characteristics and the temporal dynamics of rivalry, discuss two major theoretical accounts of rivalry (``eye'' vs ``stimulus'' rivalry) and speculate on possible neural concomitants of binocular rivalry.

Keywords: binocular rivalry; conscious awareness; neural model; perceptual organization; suppression

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN 37240, USA (E-mail: randolph.blake@vanderbilt.edu)

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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