Coupled dynamics of bistable distant motion displays

J Vis. 2011 Jul 25;11(8):14, 1-19. doi: 10.1167/11.8.14.


This study explores the extent to which a display changing periodically in perceptual interpretation through smooth periodic physical changes-an inducer-is able to elicit perceptual switches in an intrinsically bistable distant probe display. Four experiments are designed to examine the coupling strength and bistable dynamics with displays of varying degree of ambiguity, similarity, and symmetry-in motion characteristics-as a function of their locations in visual space. The results show that periodic fluctuations of a remote inducer influence a bistable probe and regulate its dynamics through coupling. Coupling strength mainly depends on the relative locations of the probe display and the contextual inducer in the visual field, with stronger coupling when both displays are symmetrical around the vertical meridian and weaker coupling otherwise. Smaller effects of common fate and symmetry are also found. Altogether, the results suggest that long-range interhemispheric connections, presumably involving the corpus callosum, are able to synchronize perceptual transitions across the vertical meridian. If true, bistable dynamics may provide a behavioral method to probe interhemispheric connectivity in behaving human. Consequences of these findings for studies using stimuli symmetrical around the vertical meridian are evaluated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Corpus Callosum / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Motion*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Young Adult