David McLaughlin, New York University
601 Pao Yue-Kong Library
When similar images are shown to both eyes, one perceives a “fused” or averaged image. On the other hand, when the two images are too distinct to fuse, an average is not perceived – rather, one perceives only one of the two images, then the other, and on and on, with jumps in perception occurring chaotically in time, every 2-3 seconds. This fascinating perceptual phenomena is called “binocular rivalry”, and has been known in the psychology literature for over 200 years. Today, it is believed to originate in cortical processing, although the specific cortical mechanisms underlying it are not known. Here we construct a neuronal network which provides an idealized representation of the front end of the mammalian visual system, and use this network to characterize two distinct cortical architectures by which either one of the two architectures could accomplish both binocular rivalry and fusion. This is joint work with Ziqi Wang, McGill University.