Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Temporal dynamics in bistable perception

Bistable perception is fundamentally a dynamic process: Our perceptual experience continuously alternates when an ambiguous or rivalrous stimulus is observed. Here we present a method to analyze instantaneous measures of dominance and transition between percepts. The analysis extracts three time-varying probabilities. First, the transient preference represents the probability of perceiving one interpretation at one instant. Second, the reversal probability is the probability that the current percept will change at the next evaluation. Finally, the survival probabilities are the probability that at one instant the current percept will not switch to the alternative interpretation. We derive the relationships between these probabilities and offer a test of independence between consecutive percepts. We also introduce a simple technique to sample the observer's perception at regular intervals. The analyzing method is illustrated with the example of binocular rivalry. We demonstrate Levelt's second proposition with the survival probability measure and show that the consecutive rivalrous percepts are not independent.



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