Article abstract


Nature Neuroscience 8, 1096 - 1101 (2005)
Published online: 3 July 2005 | doi:10.1038/nn1500

Continuous flash suppression reduces negative afterimages

Naotsugu Tsuchiya1 & Christof Koch1


Illusions that produce perceptual suppression despite constant retinal input are used to manipulate visual consciousness. Here we report on a powerful variant of existing techniques, continuous flash suppression. Distinct images flashed successively at approx10 Hz into one eye reliably suppress an image presented to the other eye. The duration of perceptual suppression is at least ten times greater than that produced by binocular rivalry. Using this tool we show that the strength of the negative afterimage of an adaptor was reduced by half when it was perceptually suppressed by input from the other eye. The more completely the adaptor was suppressed, the more strongly the afterimage intensity was reduced. Paradoxically, trial-to-trial visibility of the adaptor did not correlate with the degree of reduction. Our results imply that formation of afterimages involves neuronal structures that access input from both eyes but that do not correspond directly to the neuronal correlates of perceptual awareness.

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  1. Computation and Neural Systems Program, California Institute of Technology, M/s 139-74, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.

Correspondence to: Naotsugu Tsuchiya1 e-mail: naotsu@klab.caltech.edu



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