Interocular Suppression in the Primary Visual Cortex : a Possible Neural Basis of Binocular Rivalry

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-195
Journal / PublicationVision Research
Volume35
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

In an attempt to demonstrate a physiological basis for the alternating suppression of perception when the two eyes view very different contours (binocular rivalry), we studied the responses of neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and area of 17 cats for drifting gratings of different orientation, spatial frequency and contrast in the two eyes. Almost half of the LGN neurons studied exhibited modest inhibitory interocular interaction, but independent of interocular differences in orientation. Monocularly driven units in layer 4 of area 17 behaved similarly. However, for the majority of binocular cortical cells, the response to a grating of optimal orientation in one eye was suppressed by a grating of very different orientation shown to the other eye, over a wide range of spatial frequency and independent of relative spatial phase. This interocular suppression exhibits a remarkable non-linearity: a grating of non-preferred orientation in one eye causes significant interocular suppression only if the neuron is already responding to an appropriate stimulus in the other eye [Sengpiel and Blakemore (1994) Nature, 368, 847-850]. We propose that the switches in perceptual dominance during binocular rivalry depend on interocular interactions at the level of binocular neurons of the primary visual cortex, which might involve intracortical inhibition between adjacent ocular dominance columns. The spontaneous alternations in perceptual suppression that occur during prolonged viewing of rivalrous patterns remain to be explained, although significant variation in the strength of neuronal suppression in such conditions was occasionally seen. © 1994 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Binocular rivalry, Cat, Contrast gain control, Lateral geniculate nucleus, Striate cortex, Suppression, Visual cortex

Citation Format(s)

Interocular Suppression in the Primary Visual Cortex: a Possible Neural Basis of Binocular Rivalry. / SENGPIEL, Frank; BLAKEMORE, Colin; HARRAD, Richard.
In: Vision Research, Vol. 35, No. 2, 01.1995, p. 179-195.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review