Dominant Right Hemisphere Controls Biased Rotation Perception

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Abstract

Bistable perception is a form of visual illusion that is widely used in the context of brain research. The spinning dancer illusion is a form of bistable perception that can be used to study the perception of motion and rotation. However, the underlying mechanism of such bistability is not fully understood. To determine the possible mechanisms involved, psychophysical methods may provide valuable tools. In the present study, we investigated the effects of stimulus position in the visual field on the duration and number of perceptual reversals in the spinning dancer task. The results indicated that the duration of counterclockwise perception was significantly shorter when the stimulus was presented in the left hemifield compared with the right hemifield (p < .01). Neural adaptation in the right hemisphere might play a role in shortening the duration of counterclockwise perception in left hemifield trials. We suggest that the usual optical flow can explain the basic clockwise tendency of the right hemisphere in rotation perception. Our results are consistent with previous functional MRI studies, supporting the hypothesis that right hemisphere dominance in motion perception causes a bias toward clockwise perception in the spinning dancer task.

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