We investigated the effects of attention on dominance durations during binocular rivalry. In a series of three experiments, observers performed several tasks while viewing rival stimuli to ensure and control deployment of attention. We found that endogenous attention can prolong dominance durations of attended stimulus. We developed a novel single-task procedure where observer's responses in an attentional task were used to objectively estimate dominance durations of the attended stimulus. Using this procedure, we showed that paying attention to the stimulus features involved in rivalry is necessary for prolonging dominance durations - mere engagement of attention during rivalry was insufficient. Finally, we were able to simulate the effects of endogenous attention by doubling the contrast of the attended stimulus while it was dominant. Attention may increase the apparent contrast of the attended stimulus, thereby prolonging its dominance duration. Overall, our results indicate that dominance durations in rivalry can be prolonged when observers are performing an attentionally demanding task on the rival stimulus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems