Emerging Coexistence

Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, February 2010 | Go to article overview

Emerging Coexistence


BINOCULAR VISION

Su et al. (2009). Coexistence of binocular integration and suppression determined by surface border information. PNAS, 106, 15990.

Because the two eyes are in slightly different positions in the head, they see slightly different views of the world. Euclid noted this some 2,300 years ago, pointing out that each eye could see a slightly different half of a sphere. This posed a problem: How do we see one world given different views from the two eyes? Some early solutions were neuroanatomical. The term thalamus, for example, refers to a wedding chamber and seems to have become attached to structures in the brain because this was where the outputs of each eye seem to get married. Suppression theory was a more psychophysical proposal: Perhaps we only see the input to one eye at each location in the visual field at any one time. The chief phenomenon in the arsenal of suppression theories is binocular rivalry, the perceptual battle between two monocular images. Binocular fusion is another possibility, with stereoscopic depth perception as the great supporting phenomenon. The two eyes "get married" and produce offspring: percepts of depth not seen with either eye alone. Coexistence theories argue that suppression and fusion can occur simultaneously at a single spot in the visual field. …

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