Laughter abolishes binocular rivalry

Pettigrew, J. D. (2005) Laughter abolishes binocular rivalry. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 88 1: 39-45. doi:10.1111/j.1444-0938.2005.tb06662.x

Author Pettigrew, J. D.
Title Laughter abolishes binocular rivalry
Journal name Clinical and Experimental Optometry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0816-4622
Publication date 2005-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2005.tb06662.x
Volume 88
Issue 1
Start page 39
End page 45
Total pages 7
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2005
Subject C1
321021 Psychiatry
730111 Hearing, vision, speech and their disorders
Formatted abstract
Background: Binocular rivalry is an increasingly popular technique for the study of consciousness, which changes quasi regularly during rivalry, despite the unchanging sensory stimuli presented to each eye. For example, if a small patch of horizontal stripes is presented constantly to the fovea of one eye and a small patch of vertical stripes is similarly presented constantly to the fovea of the other eye, most subjects experience an alternation between stimuli rather than a simultaneous mixed percept of both.
Methods: Binocular rivalry was induced, superimposed on normal viewing, using liquid crystal shutters and a short persistence monitor, which produced a one degree circular patch of horizontal gratings to the right eye and an identical patch of vertical gratings in the same location for the left eye. The subject signalled with key presses the three possible perceptual states that alternated with each other, namely horizontal, vertical and mixed percept (where horizontal and vertical were simultaneously visible).
Results: The present study builds on an incidental observation that laughter stopped the rivalry alternations between horizontal and vertical and induced the mixed percept instead. A physical explanation for this effect was ruled out by using stabilised imagery in the form of retinal after-images of the rivalling gratings. Under conditions of retinal stabilisation, laughter also produced the mixed percept.
Conclusions: The results are discussed in the light of recent work that indicates the inadequacy of low-level explanation of rivalry, with laughter being another complex multi-level contribution to the neural basis of rivalry, along with other aspects of mood. The results are discussed in relation to the interesting literature on the neurology and postulated functions of laughter.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2006 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 07:30:01 EST