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Stochastic resonance in binocular rivalry Yee-Joon Kim, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki *

Summary: Stochastic resonance in binocular rivalry
Yee-Joon Kim, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki *
Department of Psychology, Institute for Neuroscience, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
Received 28 January 2005; received in revised form 5 August 2005
When a different image is presented to each eye, visual awareness spontaneously alternates between the two images--a phenom-
enon called binocular rivalry. Because binocular rivalry is characterized by two marginally stable perceptual states and spontaneous,
apparently stochastic, switching between them, it has been speculated that switches in perceptual awareness reflect a double-well-
potential type computational architecture coupled with noise. To characterize this noise-mediated mechanism, we investigated
whether stimulus input, neural adaptation, and inhibitory modulations (thought to underlie perceptual switches) interacted with
noise in such a way that the system produced stochastic resonance. By subjecting binocular rivalry to weak periodic contrast mod-
ulations spanning a range of frequencies, we demonstrated quantitative evidence of stochastic resonance in binocular rivalry. Our
behavioral results combined with computational simulations provided insights into the nature of the internal noise (its magnitude,
locus, and calibration) that is relevant to perceptual switching, as well as provided novel dynamic constraints on computational
models designed to capture the neural mechanisms underlying perceptual switching.
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Binocular rivalry; Contrast modulation; Computational simulation; Dynamics; Neural noise; Perceptual alternation; Stochastic
1. Introduction
Making flexible decisions requires consideration of


Source: Andrzejak, Ralph Gregor - Departament de Tecnologia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Reber, Paul J. - Department of Psychology, Northwestern University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences