Visual mechanisms in primary visual cortex are suppressed by the superposition of gratings perpendicular to their preferred orientations. A clear picture of this process is needed to (i) inform functional architecture of image-processing models, (ii) identify the pathways available to support binocular rivalry, and (iii) generally advance our understanding of early vision. Here we use monoptic sine-wave gratings and cross-orientation masking (XOM) to reveal two cross-oriented suppressive pathways in humans, both of which occur before full binocular summation of signals. One is a within-eye (ipsiocular) pathway that is spatially broadband, immune to contrast adaptation and has a suppressive weight that tends to decrease with stimulus duration. The other pathway operates between the eyes (interocular), is spatially tuned, desensitizes with contrast adaptation and has a suppressive weight that increases with stimulus duration. When cross-oriented masks are presented to both eyes, masking is enhanced or diminished for conditions in which either ipsiocular or interocular pathways dominate masking, respectively. We propose that ipsiocular suppression precedes the influence of interocular suppression and tentatively associate the two effects with the lateral geniculate nucleus (or retina) and the visual cortex respectively. The interocular route is a good candidate for the initial pathway involved in binocular rivalry and predicts that interocular cross-orientation suppression should be found in cortical cells with predominantly ipsiocular drive
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