Network Symmetry and Binocular Rivalry Experiments

Casey O. Diekman, Martin Golubitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hugh Wilson has proposed a class of models that treat higher-level decision making as a competition between patterns coded as levels of a set of attributes in an appropriately defined network (Cortical Mechanisms of Vision, pp. 399–417, 2009; The Constitution of Visual Consciousness: Lessons from Binocular Rivalry, pp. 281–304, 2013). In this paper, we propose that symmetry-breaking Hopf bifurcation from fusion states in suitably modified Wilson networks, which we call rivalry networks, can be used in an algorithmic way to explain the surprising percepts that have been observed in a number of binocular rivalry experiments. These rivalry networks modify and extend Wilson networks by permitting different kinds of attributes and different types of coupling. We apply this algorithm to psychophysics experiments discussed by Kovács et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:15508–15511, 1996), Shevell and Hong (Vis. Neurosci. 23:561–566, 2006; Vis. Neurosci. 25:355–360, 2008), and Suzuki and Grabowecky (Neuron 36:143–157, 2002). We also analyze an experiment with four colored dots (a simplified version of a 24-dot experiment performed by Kovács), and a three-dot analog of the four-dot experiment. Our algorithm predicts surprising differences between the three- and four-dot experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Mathematical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


  • Coupled cell systems
  • Neuronal networks
  • Rivalry
  • Symmetry-breaking


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