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This special issue presents research concerning multistable perception in different sensory modalities. Multistability occurs when a single physical stimulus produces alternations between different subjective percepts. Multistability was first described for vision, where it occurs, for example, when different stimuli are presented to the two eyes or for certain ambiguous figures. It has since been described for other sensory modalities, including audition, touch and olfaction. The key features of multistability are: (i) stimuli have more than one plausible perceptual organization; (ii) these organizations are not compatible with each other. We argue here that most if not all cases of multistability are based on competition in selecting and binding stimulus information. Binding refers to the process whereby the different attributes of objects in the environment, as represented in the sensory array, are bound together within our perceptual systems, to provide a coherent interpretation of the world around us. We argue that multistability can be used as a method for studying binding processes within and across sensory modalities. We emphasize this theme while presenting an outline of the papers in this issue. We end with some thoughts about open directions and avenues for further research.

Keywords : multistability ; multisensory ; binding ; perceptual organization

Authors :
- Jean-Luc Schwartz - Gipsa-lab, UMR 5216 CNRS, Grenoble INP, Université Joseph Fourier, Université Stendhal, Grenoble, France
- Nicolas Grimault - Cognition Auditive et Psychoacoustique, Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon, UMR 5292, Université Lyon 1, Lyon, France
- Jean-Michel Hupé - Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Université de Toulouse and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 31300 Toulouse, France
- Brian C. J. Moore - Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK
- Daniel Pressnitzer - Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 75006 Paris, France - Département d'Etudes Cognitives, Ecole Nationale Supérieure, Paris, France

Contents :
- Introduction: Multistability in perception: binding sensory modalities, an overview J-L Schwartz, N Grimault, J-M Hupé, BCJ Moore and D Pressnitzer
- Multistability and metastability: understanding dynamic coordination in the brain, JA Scott Kelso (open access articles)
- Properties of auditory stream formation, BCJ Moore and HE Gockel
- United we sense, divided we fail: context-driven perception of ambiguous visual stimuli, PC Klink, RJA van Wezel and R van Ee
- The initial phase of auditory and visual scene analysis, J-M Hupé and D Pressnitzer
- Multistability, cross-modal binding and the additivity of conjoined grouping principles, M Kubovy and M Yu
- Perceptuo-motor interactions in the perceptual organization of speech: evidence from the verbal transformation effect, A Basirat, J-L Schwartz and M Sato
- Functional brain networks underlying perceptual switching: auditory streaming and verbal transformations, M Kashino and HM Kondo
- Variability of perceptual multistability: from brain state to individual trait, A Kleinschmidt, P Sterzer and G Rees
- Multistability in auditory stream segregation: a predictive coding view, I Winkler, S Denham, R Mill, TM Bőhm and A Bendixen

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