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  Introduction to research topic – binocular rivalry: a gateway to studying consciousness

Maier, A., Panagiotaropoulos, T., Tsuchiya, N., & Keliris, G. (2012). Introduction to research topic – binocular rivalry: a gateway to studying consciousness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6: 263, pp. 1-3. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00263.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B61C-B Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-8CCC-C
Genre: Journal Article

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Maier, A, Author              
Panagiotaropoulos, TI1, 2, Author              
Tsuchiya, N, Author
Keliris, GA1, 2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497798              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: In 1593, Neapolitan polymath Giambattista della Porta publicly lamented that he was unable to improve his impressive productivity (he had published in areas as diverse as cryptography, hydraulics, pharmacology, optics, and classic fiction). Della Porta was trying to read two books simultaneously by placing both volumes side-by-side, and using each eye independently. To his great surprise, his setup allowed him to only read one book at a time. This discovery arguably marks the first written account of binocular rivalry (Wade, 2000) – a perceptual phenomenon that more than 400 years later still both serves to intrigue as well as to illuminate the limits of scientific knowledge. At first glance, binocular rivalry is an oddball. In every day vision, our eyes receive largely matching views of the world. The brain combines the two images into a cohesive scene, and concurrently, perception is stable. However, when showing two very different images (such as two different books) to each eye, the brain resolves the conflict by adopting a “diplomatic” strategy. Rather than mixing the views of the two eyes into an insensible visual percept, observers perceive a dynamically changing series of perceptual snapshots, with one eye’s view dominating for a few seconds before being replaced by its rival from the other eye. With prolonged viewing of a rivalrous stimulus, one inevitably experiences a sequence of subjective perceptual reversals, separated by random time intervals, and this process continues for as long as the sensory conflict is present.

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 Dates: 2012-09
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00263
BibTex Citekey: MaierPTK2012
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Title: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 6 Sequence Number: 263 Start / End Page: 1 - 3 Identifier: -