When one views a square-wave grating and dichoptically changes the average luminance or contrast of the monocular images, at least three perceptual phenomena might occur. These are the Venetian blind effect, or a perceived rotation of the bars around individual vertical axes; binocular luster, or a perceived shimmering; and binocular rivalry, or an alternating perception between the views of the two eyes. Perception of luster and rivalry occur when the "light bars" in the grating dichoptically straddle the background luminance (one eye's image has a higher luminance than the background and the other eye's image has a lower luminance than the background), with little impact from the "dark bars." Perception of rotation, on the other hand, is related to average luminance or contrast disparity, independent of whether or not the "light bars" straddle the background luminance. The patterns for perceived rotation versus binocular luster and binocular rivalry suggest at least two separate mechanisms in the visual system for processing luminance and contrast information over and above their differing physiological states suggested by their different appearances. While luster and rivalry depend directly on the relation between stimuli and the background, perceived rotation depends on the magnitude of the luminance or contrast disparity, as described by the generalized difference model.