1991 volume 20(5) pages 645 – 654

Cite as:
Gur M, 1991, "Perceptual fade-out occurs in the binocularly viewed Ganzfeld " Perception 20(5) 645 – 654

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Perceptual fade-out occurs in the binocularly viewed Ganzfeld

Moshe Gur

Received 1 June 1990, in revised form 25 March 1991

Abstract. The conviction that time-varying signals are essential for normal visual perception was recently challenged by Bolanowski and Doty who observed that no 'blankouts' occurred in the binocularly viewed Ganzfeld. They suggested that monocularly perceived fading is caused by the eye in darkness suppressing the non-Ganzfeld-viewing eye. In the present paper, fade-out perception under monocular and binocular Ganzfeld viewing is compared, and the effect of the free eye on the Ganzfeld-viewing eye is tested directly. Results show that fading takes place under both monocular and binocular viewing. The data reenforce the view that transient inputs are necessary for maintaining visual perception. It is also shown that there are two Ganzfeld-related phenomena -- fade-out and blackout. Fade-out, a slow gradual loss of brightness and of saturation perception, is observed by all subjects under both monocular and binocular viewing, and is affected by the light intensity and wavelength. It is probably retinal in origin. Blackout, a brief intermittent loss of all visual sensation, is experienced by some subjects in the monocular Ganzfeld only and is not appreciably affected by the light intensity or wavelength. It may be caused by a central blocking of all input to the perceiving stage.

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