How Does Binocular Rivalry Emerge from Cortical Mechanisms of 3D Vision?
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Under natural viewing conditions, a single depthful percept of the world is consciously seen. When dissimilar images are presented to corresponding regions of the two eyes, binocular rivalyr may occur, during which the brain consciously perceives alternating percepts through time. How do the same brain mechanisms that generate a single depthful percept of the world also cause perceptual bistability, notably binocular rivalry? What properties of brain representations correspond to consciously seen percepts? A laminar cortical model of how cortical areas V1, V2, and V4 generate depthful percepts is developed to explain and quantitatively simulate binocualr rivalry data. The model proposes how mechanisms of cortical developement, perceptual grouping, and figure-ground perception lead to signle and rivalrous percepts. Quantitative model simulations include influences of contrast changes that are synchronized with switches in the dominant eye percept, gamma distribution of dominant phase durations, piecemeal percepts, and coexistence of eye-based and stimulus-based rivalry. The model also quantitatively explains data about multiple brain regions involved in rivalry, effects of object attention on switching between superimposed transparent surfaces, and monocular rivalry. These data explanations are linked to brain mechanisms that assure non-rivalrous conscious percepts. To our knowledge, no existing model can explain all of these phenomena.