November 29, 2020

Ocular Dominance Plasticity: Measurement Reliability and Variability

In the last decade, studies have shown that short-term monocular deprivation strengthens the deprived eye’s contribution to binocular vision. However, the magnitude of the change in eye dominance after monocular deprivation (i.e., the patching effect) has been found to be different between for different methods and within the same method. There are three possible explanations for the discrepancy. First, the mechanisms underlying the patching effect that are probed by different measurement tasks might exist at different neural sites. Second, test-retest variability in the measurement might have led to inconsistencies, even within the same method. Third, the patching effect itself in the same subject might fluctuate across separate days or experimental sessions. To explore these possibilities, we assessed the test-retest reliability of the three most commonly used tasks (binocular rivalry, binocular combination, and dichoptic masking) and the repeatability of the shift in eye dominance after short-term monocular deprivation for each of the task. Two variations for binocular phase combination were used, at one and many contrasts of the stimuli. Also, two variations of the dichoptic masking task were tested, in which the orientation of the mask grating was either horizontal or vertical. This makes five different measurement methods in all. We hope to resolve some of the inconsistencies reported in the literature concerning this form of visual plasticity. In this study, we also aim to recommend a measurement method that will allow us to better understand its physiological basis and the underpinning of visual disorders.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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