Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 79, Issue 2, pp 473–483 | Cite as

Binocularity and visual search—Revisited

  • Bochao Zou
  • Igor S. Utochkin
  • Yue Liu
  • Jeremy M. Wolfe


Binocular rivalry is a phenomenon of visual competition in which perception alternates between two monocular images. When two eye’s images only differ in luminance, observers may perceive shininess, a form of rivalry called binocular luster. Does dichoptic information guide attention in visual search? Wolfe and Franzel (Perception & Psychophysics, 44(1), 81–93, 1988) reported that rivalry could guide attention only weakly, but that luster (shininess) “popped out,” producing very shallow Reaction Time (RT) × Set Size functions. In this study, we have revisited the topic with new and improved stimuli. By using a checkerboard pattern in rivalry experiments, we found that search for rivalry can be more efficient (16 ms/item) than standard, rivalrous grating (30 ms/item). The checkerboard may reduce distracting orientation signals that masked the salience of rivalry between simple orthogonal gratings. Lustrous stimuli did not pop out when potential contrast and luminance artifacts were reduced. However, search efficiency was substantially improved when luster was added to the search target. Both rivalry and luster tasks can produce search asymmetries, as is characteristic of guiding features in search. These results suggest that interocular differences that produce rivalry or luster can guide attention, but these effects are relatively weak and can be hidden by other features like luminance and orientation in visual search tasks.


Visual attention Visual search Binocular rivalry Binocular luster 


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Engineering Research Center of Mixed Reality and Advanced Display and School of OptoelectronicsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.Visual Attention LabHarvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory for Cognitive ResearchNational Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia

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