Consciousness & Perception

There are many different ways to study consciousness. Much of the work in the lab uses ambiguous perceptual stimuli and a range of neuroimaging technologies to better understand the biological processes and stimulus factors that determine an individual's conscious experience. One striking example is binocular rivalry, a phenomenon that occurs when different images are presented to the left and right eye simultaneously. Despite the fact that the two images are always being presented, people generally report only seeing one of the images at a time because the other image is completely suppressed from awareness.

Journal Articles


  • Chan, Y., Pitchaimuthu, Q., Wu, Q., Carter, O., Egan, G., Badcock, D. & McKendrick, A. (2019) Relating excitatory and inhibitory neurochemicals to visual perception: a magnetic resonance study of occipital cortex between migraine events BioRxiv 477935


  • Carter, O., Hohwy, J., van Boxtel, J., Lamme, V., Block, N., Koch, C. & Tsuchiya, N (2018) Conscious machines: Defining questions Science 359 (6374): 400 [PDF]
  • Bayne, T. & Carter, O. (2018) Dimensions of Consciousness and the psychedelic state  Neuroscience of Consciousness (1) niy008: 1-8 [PDF]
  • Liu, P., Forte, J., Sewell, D. & Carter. O. (2018) Cognitive load effects on early visual perceptual processing Attention, Perception and Psychophysics 80(4): 929-950 [PDF]


  • Antinori, A., Carter, O., & Smillie, L. (2017). Seeing It Both Ways: Openness to Experience and Binocular Rivalry Suppression. Journal of Research in Personality 68: 15-22. [PDF]
  • Antinori, A., Smillie, L. D., & Carter, O. (2017). Personality Measures Link Slower Binocular Rivalry Switch Rates to Higher Levels of Self-Discipline. Front Psychol 7, 2008. [PDF]


  • Howe, P. & Carter, O. (2016). Hallucinations and mental imagery demonstrate top-down effects on visual perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39: e248.[PDF]


  • Carter, O., Snyder, J., Fung, S. & Rubin, N. (2014). Using ambiguous plaid stimuli to investigate the influence of immediate prior experience on perception. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 76(1), 133–47. [PDF]
  • O'Connor, D. A., Meade, B., Carter, O., Rossiter, S. & Hester, R. (2014). Behavioral sensitivity to reward is reduced for far objects. Psychological Science 25(1), 271–277. [PDF]


  • Barutchu, A., Carter, O., Hester, R., & Levy, N. (2013). Strength in cognitive self-regulation. Front Psychol 4, 174. [PDF]
  • Barutchu, A., Becker, S., Carter, O., Hester, R. & Levy, N. (2013). The Role of Task-Related Learned Representations in Explaining Asymmetries in Task Switching. PLoS One 8(4). [PDF]


  • Cocchi, L., Toepel, U., De Lucia, M., Martuzzi, R., Wood, S., Carter, O. & Murray, M. (2011) Working memory load improves early stages of independent visual processing. Neuropsychologia 49(1): 92-102. [PDF]
  • Cocchi, L., Zalesky, A., Toepel, U., Whitford, J., De Lucia, M., Murray, M. & Carter, O (2011) Dynamic changes in brain functional connectivity during concurrent dual-task performance. PLoS One 6(11): e28301 1-9 [PDF]
  • McKendrick, A., Battista, J., Snyder, J. & Carter, O (2011) Visual and auditory perceptual rivalry in migraine. Cephalalgia 31(11): 58-69 [PDF]
  • Stanley, J., Forte, J., Cavanagh, P. & Carter, O. (2011) Onset rivalry: the initial dominance phase is independent of ongoing perceptual alternations. Front Human Neurosci 5:140. [PDF]
  • Stanley, J., Carter, O. & Forte, J. (2011) Color and luminance influence, but can not explain, binocular rivalry onset bias PLoS One 6(5): e18978 1-9. [PDF]


  • Snyder, J., Holder, W., Weintraub, D., Carter, O. & Alain, C. (2009) Effects of prior stimulus and prior perception on neural correlates of auditory stream segregation. Psychophysiology 46(6): 1208-15. [PDF]
  • Snyder, J., Carter, O., Hannon, E. & Alain. C. (2009) Adaptation reveals multiple levels of representation in auditory stream segregation. J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform 35(4): 1232-44. [PDF]
  • Naber, M., Carter, O., & Verstraten, F. (2009) Suppression wave dynamics reveal visual field anisotropies and inducer strength. Vision Research 49(14): 1805-13. [PDF]


  • Snyder, J., Carter, O., Lee, S.K., Hannon, E. & Alain. C. (2008) Effects of Context on Auditory Stream Segregation. J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform 34(4):1007-16. [PDF]


  • Carter, O. & Cavanagh, P. (2007) Onset rivalry: Brief presentation isolates an early independent phase of perceptual competition PLoS One 2(4): e343. [PDF]


  • Carter, O., Presti, D., Callistemon, C., Liu, G. B., Ungerer, Y. & Pettigrew, J. D. (2005) Meditation Alters Perceptual Rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist Monks. Current Biology 15(11): R412-R413. [PDF]


  • Carter, O., Campbell, T., Liu, G. B. & Wallis, G. (2004) Contradictory influence of context on predominance during binocular rivalry. Clin Exp Optom 87(3): 153-62. [PDF]


  • Carter, O. & Pettigrew, J. (2003) A Common Oscillator for Perceptual Rivalries? Perception 32 (3): 295-305. [PDF]


  • Pettigrew, J. & Carter, O. (2002) Vision as motivation: interhemispheric oscillation alters perception. Adv Exp Med Biol 508:461-9 [PDF]

Book Chapters

  • Pettigrew, J. & Carter, O. (2004) Perceptual Rivalry as an Ultradian Oscillation. In: Binocular rivalry. (Eds.) David Alais and Randolph Blake, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA [PDF]