Cross-Modal Influence on Binocular Rivalry


Binocular rivalry occurs when two distinct stimuli, one for each eye, are presented to corresponding retinal areas. Similar to other bistable phenomena such as Necker cubes, this overlap often causes one's conscious perception to alternate between a coherent perception of one stimulus, a coherent perception of the other and sometimes a mixture of the two. Previous studies have tried to identify where rivalry occurs, and what is actually being rivaled. Some studies have provided evidence for low-level effects on rivalry, lending support to the idea that rivalry is between monocular visual streams. Other studies have provided evidence for higher-level effects on rivalry, supporting the idea that rivalry is between opposing patterns. While this debate has largely been passed on in favor of a hybrid theory of rivalry that includes effects at several levels, questions still remain about specific higher-level effects. In the present study, we look at the effect of a congruent auditory stimulus on perception of rival videos of speaking people. We find that auditory stimuli can have an effect on rivalry, indicating that cross-modal processes such as speech to lip matching or voice to face matching are among the high-level factors impacting rivalry.

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