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Breaking the stability of perceptual instability: Temporal dynamics of ambiguous figure reversal and interference from distractor patterns

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83864

Conrad,  V
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Cognitive Neuroimaging, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84080

McDonald,  JS
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84201

Schultz,  J
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Conrad, V., McDonald, J., & Schultz, J. (2006). Breaking the stability of perceptual instability: Temporal dynamics of ambiguous figure reversal and interference from distractor patterns. Poster presented at 29th European Conference on Visual Perception, St. Petersburg.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D0A5-3
Abstract
During continuous viewing of multistable figures, such as the Necker cube, perception alternates between equally valid solutions. So how can perceptual experience be stable given that various alternative interpretations of the same physical stimulus are available? Previous demonstrations with bistable stimuli have revealed that a repetitive intermittent presentation leads to a stabilisation of the percept. Recent research findings suggested that interleaved presentation of several ambiguous stimuli does not disrupt the perceptual stabilisation of each reversible pattern, suggesting that perceptual 'memory stores' coexist independently for each representation. Interference effects were only obtained for structurally similar stimuli. In the present study, we adopted Maier et al's interleaved presentation paradigm to investigate the effects of interfering ambiguous patterns upon transition probability and the stabilisation process. Rather than manipulating structural similarities between interleaved ambiguous stimuli, we sequentially presented ambiguous figures that share equivalent reversal processes such as figure - ground segregation or perspective reversal. The results reveal that perceptual dominance time of the ambiguous test stimulus decreases compared to periods during which a blank interval is presented, indicating an effect of interference from the distractor. Interaction between reversal processes influences the stabilisation of perception that is normally observed during repetitive intermittent presentation with blank intervals.