The temporal dynamics of early visual cortex involvement in behavioral priming

Jacobs, C., de Graaf, T.A., Goebel, R. and Sack, A.T. 2012. The temporal dynamics of early visual cortex involvement in behavioral priming. PLoS ONE. 7 (11), p. e48808. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048808

TitleThe temporal dynamics of early visual cortex involvement in behavioral priming
AuthorsJacobs, C., de Graaf, T.A., Goebel, R. and Sack, A.T.
Abstract

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) allows for non-invasive interference with ongoing neural processing. Applied in a chronometric design over early visual cortex (EVC), TMS has proved valuable in indicating at which particular time point EVC must remain unperturbed for (conscious) vision to be established. In the current study, we set out to examine the effect of EVC TMS across a broad range of time points, both before (pre-stimulus) and after (post-stimulus) the onset of symbolic visual stimuli. Behavioral priming studies have shown that the behavioral impact of a visual stimulus can be independent from its conscious perception, suggesting two independent neural signatures. To assess whether TMS-induced suppression of visual awareness can be dissociated from behavioral priming in the temporal domain, we thus implemented three different measures of visual processing, namely performance on a standard visual discrimination task, a subjective rating of stimulus visibility, and a visual priming task. To control for non-neural TMS effects, we performed electrooculographical recordings, placebo TMS (sham), and control site TMS (vertex). Our results suggest that, when considering the appropriate control data, the temporal pattern of EVC TMS disruption on visual discrimination, subjective awareness and behavioral priming are not dissociable. Instead, TMS to EVC disrupts visual perception holistically, both when applied before and after the onset of a visual stimulus. The current findings are discussed in light of their implications on models of visual awareness and (subliminal) priming.

JournalPLoS ONE
Journal citation7 (11), p. e48808
ISSN1932-6203
Year2012
PublisherPublic Library of Science
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048808
Publication dates
Published2012

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