Contour interactions between pairs of Gabors engaged in binocular rivalry reveal a map of the association field

Vision Res. 2006 Apr;46(8-9):1473-87. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2005.09.029. Epub 2005 Nov 10.


A psychophysical study was conducted to investigate contour interactions (the 'association field'). Two Gabor patches were presented to one eye, with random-dot patches in corresponding locations of the other eye so as to produce binocular rivalry. Perceptual alternations of the two rivalry processes were monitored continuously by observers and the two time series were cross-correlated. The Gabors were oriented collinearly, obliquely, or orthogonally, and spatial separation was varied. A parallel condition was also included. Correlation between the rivalry processes strongly depended on separation and relative orientation. Correlations between adjacent collinear Gabors was near-perfect and reduced with spatial separation and as relative orientation departed from collinear. Importantly, variations in cross-correlation did not alter the rivalry processes (average dominance duration, and therefore alternation rate, was constant across conditions). Instead, synchronisation of rivalry oscillations accounts for the correlation variations: rivalry alternations were highly synchronised when contour interactions were strong and were poorly synchronised when contour interactions were weak. The level of synchrony between these two stochastic processes, in depending on separation and relative orientation, effectively reveals a map of the association field. These association fields are not greatly affected by contrast, and can be demonstrated between contours that are presented to separate hemispheres.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Orientation
  • Vision Disparity*
  • Visual Fields*