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      Dynamic properties of internal noise probed by modulating binocular rivalry

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      bioRxiv

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          Abstract

          Neural systems are inherently noisy, and this noise can affect our perception from moment to moment. This is particularly apparent in binocular rivalry, where our perception of competing stimuli shown to the left and right eyes alternates over time in a seemingly random fashion. We investigated internal noise using binocular rivalry by modulating rivalling stimuli using dynamic sequences of external noise of various rates and amplitudes. As well as measuring the effect on dominance durations, we repeated each external noise sequence twice, and assessed the consistency of percepts across repetitions. External noise modulations with standard deviations above 4% contrast increased consistency scores above baseline, and were most effective at 1/8Hz. A computational model of rivalry in which internal noise has a 1/f (pink) temporal amplitude spectrum, and a standard deviation of 16%, provided the best account of our data, and was able to correctly predict perception in additional conditions. Our novel technique provides detailed estimates of the dynamic properties of internal noise during binocular rivalry, and by extension the stochastic processes that drive our perception and other types of spontaneous brain activity.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          bioRxiv
          November 29 2018
          Article
          10.1101/480988
          © 2018
          Product

          Molecular medicine, Neurosciences

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