Skip to main content Accessibility help

Resolution of binocular rivalry: Perceptual misbinding of color


Is neural binding of color and form required for perception of a unified colored object? Individual cells selectively tuned to both color and orientation are proposed to moot the binding problem. This study reveals perceptual misbinding of color, thereby revealing separate neural representations of color and form followed by a subsequent binding process. Low luminance-contrast, rivalrous chromatic gratings were presented dichoptically. Each grating had alternating chromatic and gray stripes (e.g., red/gray in the left eye, green/gray in the right eye). Observers viewed the two rivalrous, 2 cpd gratings for 1 min. The duration of exclusive visibility was measured for four percepts: left-eye stimulus, right-eye stimulus, fusion of the two colors, or a two-color grating (e.g. a red/green grating). The percept of a two-color grating (misbinding) was observed with Michelson luminance contrast in the grating up to 20%. In general, for a given level of luminance contrast either misbinding (low luminance contrast) or color mixture (high luminance contrast) was observed, but not both of them. The perceived two-color gratings show that two rivalrous chromaticities are both represented neurally when color and form are combined to give a unified percept. “Resolution” of competing chromatic signals from the two eyes is not restricted to color dominance and color mixture. The transition from misbinding to color mixture by increasing luminance contrast shows that luminance edges have an important role in correct localization of color.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Sang Wook Hong, Visual Science Laboratories, The University of Chicago, 940 E 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. E-mail:
Hide All


Creed, R.S. (1935). Observation on binocular fusion and rivalry. Journal of Physiology 84, 381392.
de Weert, C.M.M. & Wade, N.J. (1988). Compound binocular rivalry. Vision Research 28, 10311040.
Fellaman, D.J. & Van Essen, D.C. (1991). Distributed hierarchical processing in the primate visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex 1, 147.
Friedman, H.S., Zhou, H., & von der Heydt, R. (2003). The coding of uniform color figures in monkey visual cortex. Journal of Physiology 548, 593613.
Ikeda, M. & Sagawa, K. (1979). Binocular color fusion limit. Journal of Optical Society America 69, 316321.
Johnson, E.N., Hawken, M.J., & Shapley, R. (2001). The spatial transformation of color in the primary visual cortex of the macaque monkey. Nature Neuroscience 4, 409416.
Johnson, E.N., Hawken, M.J., & Shapley, R. (2004). Cone inputs in macaque primary visual cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 91, 25012514.
Kovács, I., Papathomas, T.V., Yang, M., & Feher, A. (1996). When the brain changes its mind: interocular grouping during binocular rivalry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 93, 1550815511.
Lee, S.-H. & Blake, R. (2004). A fresh look at interocular grouping during binocular rivalry. Vision Research 44, 983991.
Livingstone, M.S. & Hubel, D.H. (1988). Segregation of form, color, movement, and depth: Anatomy, physiology, and perception. Science 240, 740749.
MacLeod, D.I.A. & Boynton, R.M. (1979). Chromaticity diagram showing cone excitation by stimuli of equal luminance. Journal or the Optical Society of America 69, 11831185.
Stirling, W. (1999). An experiment on binocular colour vision with half-penny postage stamps. Journal of Physiology 27, 2324.
Treisman, A. & Gelade, G. (1980). A feature-integration theory of attention. Cognitive Psychology 12, 97136.
Treisman, A. & Schmidt, H. (1982). Illusory conjunctions in perception of objects. Cognitive Psychology 14, 107141.
Zeki, S. (1993). A Vision of the Brain. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Visual Neuroscience
  • ISSN: 0952-5238
  • EISSN: 1469-8714
  • URL: /core/journals/visual-neuroscience
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed