Researchers today in neuroscience and cognitive psychology increasingly turn their attention to binocular rivalry and other forms of perceptual ambiguity or bistability. The study of fluctuations in visual perception in the face of unchanging visual input offers a means for understanding the link between neural events and visual events, including visual awareness. Some neuroscientists believe that binocular rivalry reveals a fundamental aspect of human cognition and provides a way to isolate and study brain areas involved in attention and selection. The eighteen essays collected in Binocular Rivalry present the most recent theoretical and empirical work on this key topic by leading researchers in the field.
After the opening chapter's overview of the major characteristics of binocular rivalry in their historical contexts, the contributors consider topics ranging from the basic phenomenon of perceptual ambiguity to brain models and neural networks. The essays illustrate the potential power of the study of perceptual ambiguity as a tool for learning about the neural concomitants of visual awareness, or, as they have been called, the "neural correlates of consciousness."
About the Editors
David Alais is Australian Research Fellow at the Auditory Research Laboratory, Department of Physiology, University of Sydney.
Randolph Blake is Centennial Professor of Psychology,a Fellow of the Kennedy Center for Integrative Development, and a member of the Venderbilt Vision Center, at Vanderbilt University.
"Our two eyes normally work in harmony, but if they look at very different things the result is a curious alternation of perception called binocular rivalry. As with so many other perceptual illusions (such as apparent motion, constancy effects, and shape from shading), rivalry was regarded mainly as a curiosity in the past. In the last two decades, though, there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest, thanks to a handful of young researchers, including Randolph Blake. This collection presents a valuable cross section of ideas on the subject and is a refreshing antidote to the tedium of humdrum 'classical' psychophysics that until recently have dominated the field."
—V. S. Ramachandran, University of California, San Diego, and author of A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness
"This volume provides the first comprehensive review ever of the history and current state of rivalry research. It shows that binocular rivalry has become a fascinating model case for how classical psychophysics and modern neuroscience should interact."
—Willem J. M. Levelt, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands