Feature-based activation and suppression during binocular rivalry
In the past decade, effects of pattern coherence have indicated that perception during binocular rivalry does not result solely from reciprocal inhibitory competition between monocular channels. In this study we were interested in feature selectivity both during dominance and during suppression. The first experiment shows that a suppressed stimulus perceptually appears earlier when it shares features with a visible stimulus than when it does not. Subsequently, our second experiment suggests a reversal of this effect when similarity is exhibited with a suppressed stimulus. These findings hint at a role for both selective enhancing (Experiment 1) and selective inhibitory cortical mechanisms (Experiment 2) in causing image rivalry. From a phenomenological perspective these results suggest that we are not only selectively aware but also selectively unaware of specific features in the visual scene.