Configuration saliency revealed in short duration binocular rivalry

Yoram Bonneh, Dov Sagi

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43 Scopus citations


Supra-threshold spatial integration was studied by testing the saliency of multi-Gabor element configurations in short duration binocular rivalry (dichoptic masking) conditions. Dichoptic presentations allow for a competition between spatially overlapping supra-threshold stimuli that involve non-overlapping monocular receptive fields in the first stage of visual filtering. Different spatial configurations of Gabor patches (σ=λ=0.12°) were presented to one eye (target) together with a bandpass noise presented to the other eye (mask). After a short rivalry period (120 ms) in which a dominance of one eye was established, a probe (a randomly positioned small rectangle of reduced contrast in the target) was presented for additional detection period (80 ms). Probe detection performance was measured (two-alternative-forced choice paradigm (2AFC)) by finding the mask contrast leading to 79% correct response. Results show that configuration saliency is consistently expressed as dominance in short-duration binocular rivalry, with similar results obtained for longer durations (200 ms and continuous presentations). We find that textures of high-contrast randomly oriented patches are more dominant than uniform textures where the effect decreases and eventually reverses with decreasing of contrast. For supra- threshold contours, however, we find that smooth collinear contours are more dominant than 'jagged' ones, regardless of phase and contrast. These findings suggest principles underlying early lateral integration mechanisms based on contrast dependent inhibitory and excitatory connections. This mechanism could be based on iso-orientation surround (2D) inhibition and collinear (1D) facilitation, with inhibition being more effective at high contrasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Uri Polat, Yael Adini, Yasuto Tanaka, Barbara Zenger and Marius Usher for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Basic Research Foundation administered by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.


  • Binocular rivalry
  • Contrast perception
  • Lateral interactions
  • Long range connections
  • Perceptual grouping


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