Brain and Mind

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 5-38

First online:

A Primer on Binocular Rivalry, Including Current Controversies

  • Randolph BlakeAffiliated withVanderbilt Vision Research Center, Vanderbilt University

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Among psychologists and vision scientists,binocular rivalry has enjoyed sustainedinterest for decades dating back to the 19thcentury. In recent years, however, rivalry'saudience has expanded to includeneuroscientists who envision rivalry as a “tool” for exploring the neural concomitants ofconscious visual awareness and perceptualorganization. For rivalry's potential to berealized, workers using this “tool” need toknow details of this fascinating phenomenon,and providing those details is the purpose ofthis article. After placing rivalry in ahistorical context, I summarize major findingsconcerning the spatial characteristics and thetemporal dynamics of rivalry, discuss two majortheoretical accounts of rivalry (“eye” vs“stimulus” rivalry) and speculate on possibleneural concomitants of binocular rivalry.

binocular rivalry conscious awareness neural model perceptual organization suppression