Dichoptic masking and binocular rivalry share common perceptual dynamics

Jeroen J.A. van Boxtel, Raymond van Ee, Casper J. Erkelens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Two of the strongest tools to manipulate visual awareness of potentially salient stimuli are binocular rivalry and dichoptic masking. Binocular rivalry is induced by presenting incompatible images to the two eyes over prolonged periods of time, leading to an alternating perception of the two images. Dichoptic masking is induced when two images are presented once in rapid succession, leading to the perception of just one of the images. Although these phenomena share some key characteristics, most notably the ability to erase from awareness potentially very salient stimuli, their relationship is poorly understood. We investigated the perceptual dynamics during long-lasting dynamic stimulation leading to binocular rivalry or dichoptic masking. We show that the perceptual dynamics during dichoptic masking conditions meet the classifiers used to classify a process as binocular rivalry; that is, (1) Levelt's 2nd proposition is obeyed; (2) perceptual dominance durations follow a gamma distribution; and (3) dominance durations are sequentially independent. We suggest that binocular rivalry and dichoptic masking may be mediated by the same inhibitory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


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