The Illusion of Disappearance
: Binocular rivalry epitomizes the essence of a perceptual illusion in that it involves a compelling dissociation of retinal stimulation and visual experience: dissimilar monocular stimuli appear and disappear reciprocally and unpredictably over time, even though retinal images of both stimuli remain unchanged. Thus binocular rivalry is instigated when dissimilar visual stimuli are imaged on corresponding areas of the two eyes. These dissimilarities can arise from differences in form (both simple and complex), color, or direction of motion. This beguiling phenomenon—binocular rivalry—affords the psychologist a potent means for probing visual processing outside of awareness and the neurophysiologist a strategy for studying neural dynamics. Related concepts including bistable perception, interocular suppression, and neural dynamics are explored.
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