The visual system must integrate data from the two eyes to produce a single perception of the environment. The principles governing the binocular combination process have significant clinical and technical applications in the real world. However, as most studies on binocular combination have used relatively straightforward visual stimuli, it was still determined how well the results translate to actual situations.
For instance, it was widely known that the binocular percept frequently corresponds to the sine wave grating with the larger contrast when two eyes watch it (dichoptic stimuli). Does this binocular contrast combination’s winner-take-all trait apply to more realistic vision with broadband structure and spatially changing contrast? For a study, researchers conducted psychophysical tests describing binocular contrast perception for a variety of visual stimuli to understand binocular combinations during naturalistic viewing better. They examined how the contrast of the surrounding background affects perceptions in two studies where we investigated the binocular contrast perception of dichoptic sine wave gratings and naturalistic stimuli.
When the surrounding context was the average contrast of the two eyes, binocular contrast percepts were almost winner-take-all for several stimuli. However, they discovered that although certain patterns were controlled by changing the circumstances around them, others were not. They provided proof that the spatial orientation structure of the stimuli may be the cause of this contextual impact. The findings advanced the understanding of binocular pairing in the natural world and emphasized how crucial it was to take the impact of spatial interactions in complex stimuli into account.