Predicting visual consciousness from brain activity: Roles for noise and adaptation
O'Shea, R.P., Roeber, U., Heathershaw Jones, M., Durrant, E-L and Hawes, M. (2014) Predicting visual consciousness from brain activity: Roles for noise and adaptation. In: Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness 18 (ASSC 18) 18, 16 - 19 June, Brisbane, Australia.
Recently, O’Shea, Kornmeier, and Roeber, (2013, PLoS ONE) used event-‐related potentials (ERPs) to predict the contents of visual consciousness during intermittent binocular rivalry. On each of numerous trials, they showed a first, 1000-‐ms, rival display—a vertical grating to one eye and a horizontal grating to the other—yielding visual consciousness of one or the other grating. Then they showed a 200-‐ms display of darkness, and then showed exactly the same gratings in a second, 1000-‐ms, rival display, yielding consciousness of either the same or the other grating. O’Shea et al. found that greater ERP activity 180 ms after onset of the first rival display predicted a change in visual consciousness in the second rival display. They suggested that greater initial 36 Abstracts activity of neurons processing one grating meant they won the competition for consciousness in the first rival display, but that they adapted faster, making them likely to lose the competition in the second rival display. In the current study, we preceded the first rival display (now 533 ms) by a 533-‐ms monocular-‐adaptation display—one of the gratings to one eye and darkness to the other—yielding visibility of the displayed grating. In the first rival display, observers perceived the other grating—flash suppression. We found greater ERP activity 180 ms after onset of the monocular-‐adaptation display predicted a change in visual consciousness in the second rival display. We suggest that this predictive activity is consistent with a role for noise in brain activity mediating visual consciousness.
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