Looking at ambiguous figures results in rivalry with spontaneous alternation between two percepts. Using event–related functional magnetic resonance imaging, we localized transient human brain activity changes during perceptual reversals. Activation occurred in ventral occipital and intraparietal higher–order visual areas, deactivation in primary visual cortex and the pulvinar. Thus, without any physical stimulus changes, salient perceptual flips briefly engage widely separated specialized cortical areas, but are also associated with intermittent activity breakdown in structures putatively maintaining perceptual stability. Together, the dynamics of integrative perceptual experience are reflected in rapid spatially differentiated activity modulation within a cooperative set of neural structures.