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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2020

Novel method to measure temporal windows based on eye movements during viewing of the Necker cube

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Bistable stimuli can give rise to two different interpretations between which our perception will alternate. Recent results showed a strong coupling between eye movements and reports of perceptual alternations with motion stimuli, which provides useful tools to objectively assess perceptual alternations. However, motion might entrain eye movements, and here we check with a static picture, the Necker cube, whether eye movements and perceptual reports (manual responses) reveal similar or different alternation rates, and similar or different sensitivity to attention manipulations. Using a cluster analysis, ocular temporal windows were defined based on the dynamics of ocular fixations during viewing of the Necker cube and compared to temporal windows extracted from manual responses. Ocular temporal windows were measured also with a control condition, where the physical stimulus presented to viewers alternated between two non-ambiguous versions of the Necker cube. Attention was manipulated by asking subjects to either report spontaneous alternations, focus on one percept, or switch as fast as possible between percepts. The validity of the ocular temporal windows was confirmed by the correspondence between ocular fixations when the physical stimulus changed and when the bistable Necker cube was presented. Ocular movements defined smaller time windows than time windows extracted from manual responses. The number of manual and ocular windows both increased between the spontaneous condition and the switch condition. However, only manual, and not ocular windows, increased in duration in the focus condition. Manual responses involve decisional mechanisms, and they may be decoupled from automatic oscillations between the two percepts, as suggested by the fact that both the number and duration of ocular windows remained stable between the spontaneous and focus conditions. In all, the recording of eye movements provides an objective measure of time windows, and reveals faster perceptual alternations with the Necker cube and less sensitivity to attention manipulations than manual responses.
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Dates and versions

inserm-02473935 , version 1 (11-02-2020)



Patrik Polgári, Jean-Baptiste Causin, Luisa Weiner, Gilles Bertschy, Anne Giersch. Novel method to measure temporal windows based on eye movements during viewing of the Necker cube. PLoS ONE, 2020, 15 (1), pp.e0227506. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0227506⟩. ⟨inserm-02473935⟩
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