Interhemispheric switching mediates perceptual rivalry

Miller, Steven M. and Liu, Guang B. and Ngo, Trung T. and Hooper, Greg and Riek, Stephan and Carson, Richard G. and Pettigrew, John D. (2000) Interhemispheric switching mediates perceptual rivalry. Current Biology, 10 (7). pp. 383-392. ISSN 0960-9822

Text (Published Version)

Download (337kB) | Preview

Official URL:


Binocular rivalry refers to the alternating perceptual states that occur when the images seen by the two eyes are too different to be fused into a single percept. Logothetis and colleagues have challenged suggestions that this phenomenon occurs early in the visual pathway. They have shown that, in alert monkeys, neurons in the primary visual cortex continue to respond to their preferred stimulus despite the monkey reporting its absence. Moreover, they found that neural activity higher in the visual pathway is highly correlated with the monkey's reported percept. These and other findings suggest that the neural substrate of binocular rivalry must involve high levels, perhaps the same levels involved in reversible figure alternations.

[Results]: We present evidence that activation or disruption of a single hemisphere in human subjects affects the perceptual alternations of binocular rivalry. Unilateral caloric vestibular stimulation changed the ratio of time spent in each competing perceptual state. Transcranial magnetic stimulation applied to one hemisphere disrupted normal perceptual alternations when the stimulation was timed to occur at one phase of the perceptual switch, but not at the other. Furthermore, activation of a single hemisphere by caloric stimulation affected the perceptual alternations of a reversible figure, the Necker cube.

[Conclusions]: Our findings suggest that interhemispheric switching mediates perceptual rivalry. Thus, competition for awareness in both binocular rivalry and reversible figures occurs between, rather than within, each hemisphere.
This interhemispheric switch hypothesis has implications for understanding the neural mechanisms of conscious experience and also has clinical relevance as the rate of both types of perceptual rivalry is slow in bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Statistics for USQ ePrint 3218
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:22
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2016 04:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: binocular rivalry; interhemispheric switching
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1109 Neurosciences > 110906 Sensory Systems
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1113 Ophthalmology and Optometry > 111303 Vision Science
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920107 Hearing, Vision, Speech and Their Disorders

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only