Journal club presentation by M.Khamechiyan

Multiple Transient Signals in Human Visual Cortex Associated with an Elementary Decision

Thomas Meindertsma, Niels A. Kloosterman, Guido Nolte, Andreas K. Engel and Tobias H. Donner

Link to paper


The cerebral cortex continuously undergoes changes in its state, which are manifested in transient modulations of the cortical power spectrum. Cortical state changes also occur at full wakefulness and during rapid cognitive acts, such as perceptual decisions. Previous studies found a global modulation of beta-band (12–30 Hz) activity in human and monkey visual cortex during an elementary visual decision: reporting the appearance or disappearance of salient visual targets surrounded by a distractor. The previous studies disentangled neither the motor action associated with behavioral report nor other secondary processes, such as arousal, from perceptual decision processing per se. Here, we used magnetoencephalography in humans to pinpoint the factors underlying the beta-band modulation. We found that disappearances of a salient target were associated with beta-band suppression, and target reappearances with beta-band enhancement. This was true for both overt behavioral reports (immediate button presses) and silent counting of the perceptual events. This finding indicates that the beta-band modulation was unrelated to the execution of the motor act associated with a behavioral report of the perceptual decision. Further, changes in pupil-linked arousal, fixational eye movements, or gamma-band responses were not necessary for the beta-band modulation. Together, our results suggest that the beta-band modulation was a top-down signal associated with the process of converting graded perceptual signals into a categorical format underlying flexible behavior. This signal may have been fed back from brain regions involved in decision processing to visual cortex, thus enforcing a “decision-consistent” cortical state.

About This Event

Start date06/20/2018 10:00
End date06/20/2018 12:00



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