Intracranial spectral amplitude dynamics of perceptual suppression in fronto-insular, occipito-temporal, and primary visual cortex

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© 2015 Vidal, Perrone-Bertolotti, Kahane and Lachaux. If conscious perception requires global information integration across active distant brain networks, how does the loss of conscious perception affect neural processing in these distant networks? Pioneering studies on perceptual suppression (PS) described specific local neural network responses in primary visual cortex, thalamus and lateral prefrontal cortex of the macaque brain. Yet the neural effects of PS have rarely been studied with intracerebral recordings outside these cortices and simultaneously across distant brain areas. Here, we combined (1) a novel experimental paradigm in which we produced a similar perceptual disappearance and also re-appearance by using visual adaptation with transient contrast changes, with (2) electrophysiological observations from human intracranial electrodes sampling wide brain areas. We focused on broadband high-frequency (50-150 Hz, i.e., gamma) and low-frequency (8-24 Hz) neural activity amplitude modulations related to target visibility and invisibility. We report that low-frequency amplitude modulations reflected stimulus visibility in a larger ensemble of recording sites as compared to broadband gamma responses, across distinct brain regions including occipital, temporal and frontal cortices. Moreover, the dynamics of the broadband gamma response distinguished stimulus visibility from stimulus invisibility earlier in anterior insula and inferior frontal gyrus than in temporal regions, suggesting a possible role of fronto-insular cortices in top-down processing for conscious perception. Finally, we report that in primary visual cortex only low-frequency amplitude modulations correlated directly with perceptual status. Interestingly, in this sensory area broadband gamma was not modulated during PS but became positively modulated after 300 ms when stimuli were rendered visible again, suggesting that local networks could be ignited by top-down influences during conscious perception.




Vidal, J. R., Perrone-Bertolotti, M., Kahane, P., & Lachaux, J. P. (2014). Intracranial spectral amplitude dynamics of perceptual suppression in fronto-insular, occipito-temporal, and primary visual cortex. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(OCT).

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