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Discontinuous presentation of ambiguous figures: How interstimulus-interval durations affect reversal dynamics and ERPs
Article first published online: 19 APR 2007
Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 552–560, July 2007
How to Cite
Kornmeier, J., Ehm, W., Bigalke, H. and Bach, M. (2007), Discontinuous presentation of ambiguous figures: How interstimulus-interval durations affect reversal dynamics and ERPs. Psychophysiology, 44: 552–560. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00525.x
- Issue published online: 19 APR 2007
- Article first published online: 19 APR 2007
- (Received December 18, 2006; Accepted February 28, 2007)
- Ambiguous figures;
- Multistable perception;
- Bistable perception;
- Necker cube;
- Event-related potentials (ERPs);
If we observe an ambiguous figure, our percept is unstable and alternates between the possible interpretations. Periodically interrupting the presentation sizably modulates the spontaneous reversal rate. We here studied event-related potential (ERP) correlates of the neural processes underlying these strong modulations. An ambiguous Necker stimulus was presented discontinuously with four randomly varying interstimulus intervals (ISI; 14, 43, 130, 390 ms) while participants indicated perceptual reversals. EEG was selectively averaged with respect to the participants' percept and ISI. ERP traces varied markedly between ISIs. A simple model explained a major part of this variation and showed that the ISI-dependent ERP modulation occurs after disambiguation has already taken place. We suggest that perceptual stability (or reversal) depends on a system state, slowly changing from one reversal to the next. ISI can shift this state on a scale between stability and instability.