Binaral Rivalry in the Presence of Visual Lexical and Perceptual Influences
Master of Arts
When two different odorants are presented at the same time to the two nostrils, we experience alternations in olfactory percepts, a phenomenon called binaral rivalry. Little, however, is known about the nature of such alternations. Here we investigate this issue by subjecting unstable and stable olfactory percepts to the influences of visual lexical or perceptual cues as participants engage in either mononaral sampling of a single odorant or binaral sampling oftwo different odorants. We show that alternations of olfactory percepts in the binaral setting persist even when visual modulation is present. We further show that while the two types of cues exert comparable effects in the mononaral setting, they produce greater and unequivocal differences in the binaral setting, with perceptual cues outweighing lexical cues. Our findings provide the evidence that an inherent, stimulus-driven process underlies binaral rivalry despite its general susceptibility to topdown influences.