Binocular Rivalry

Binocular rivalry is a phenomenon of visual perception in which perception alternates between different images presented to each eye.

When one image is presented to one eye and a very different image is presented to the other (also known as dichoptic presentation), instead of the two images being seen superimposed, one image is seen for a few moments, then the other, then the first, and so on, randomly for as long as one cares to look. For example, if a set of vertical lines is presented to one eye, and a set of horizontal lines to the same region of the retina of the other, sometimes the vertical lines are seen with no trace of the horizontal lines, and sometimes the horizontal lines are seen with no trace of the vertical lines.

At transitions, brief, unstable composites of the two images may be seen; these are often organized. For example, the vertical lines may appear one at a time to obscure the horizontal lines from the left or from the right, or the horizontal lines may appear one at a time to obscure the vertical lines from the top or from the bottom. Binocular rivalry occurs between any stimuli that differ sufficiently, including simple stimuli like lines of different orientation and complex stimuli like different alphabetic letters or different pictures such as of a face and of a house.

Very small differences between images, however, might yield singleness of vision and stereopsis. In recent years neuroscientists have used neuroimaging techniques and single-cell recording techniques to identify neural events responsible for the perceptual dominance of a given image and for the perceptual alternations.

Read more about Binocular RivalryTypes of Binocular Rivalry, Why Binocular Rivalry Is Interesting, History of Binocular Rivalry, Early Theories of Binocular Rivalry, Empirical Studies of Binocular Rivalry: B. B. Breese (1899, 1909), Other Senses

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... This alternation of perception between the images of the two eyes is called binocular rivalry ...
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... conflict is sustained without any abrupt events, binocular rivalry occurs ... In both flash suppression and binocular rivalry, perceptual conflict between the two eyes is required for the perceptual effect ... images are used, fusion of the two images is experienced, rather than flash suppression or binocular rivalry ...

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