Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 90, Issue 4, pp 256–263

Perceptual dominance time distributions in multistable visual perception


  • Y. H. Zhou
    • Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringEB 559, University of Florida
    • Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringEB 559, University of Florida
  • K. D. White
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Florida
  • I. Merk
    • Gerling Global Reinsurance Company
  • K. Yao
    • Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1007/s00422-004-0472-8

Cite this article as:
Zhou, Y., Gao, J., White, K. et al. Biol. Cybern. (2004) 90: 256. doi:10.1007/s00422-004-0472-8


Perceptual multistability, alternative perceptions of an unchanging stimulus, gives important clues to neural dynamics. The present study examined 56 perceptual dominance time series for a Necker cube stimulus, for ambiguous motion, and for binocular rivalry. We made histograms of the perceptual dominance times, based on from 307 to 2478 responses per time series (median=612), and compared these histograms to gamma, lognormal and Weibull fitted distributions using the Kolmogorov–Smirnov goodness-of-fit test. In 40 of the 56 tested cases a lognormal distribution provided an acceptable fit to the histogram (in 24 cases it was the only fit). In 16 cases a gamma distribution, and in 11 cases a Weibull distribution, were acceptable but never as the only fit in either case. Any of the three distributions were acceptable in three cases and none provided acceptable fits in 12 cases. Considering only the 16 cases in which a lognormal distribution was rejected (p<0.05) revealed that minor adjustments to the fourth-moment term of the lognormal characteristic function restored good fits. These findings suggest that random fractal theory might provide insight into the underlying mechanisms of multistable perceptions.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004