ERPs and PET analysis of time perception: Spatial and temporal brain mapping during visual discrimination tasks

  • Pouthas V
  • Garnero L
  • Ferrandez A
 et al. 
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ERPs were recorded from 12 subjects performing duration and intensity visual discrimination tasks which have been previously used in a PET study. PET data showed that the same network was activated in both tasks [P. Maquet et al., NeuroImage 3:119-126, 1996]. Different ERP waveforms were observed for the late latency components depending on the dimension of the stimulus to be processed: frontal negativity (CNV) for the duration task and parieto-occipital positivity (P300) for the intensity task. Using BESA software, the sources were first modelled with a "PET dipolar model" (right prefrontal, right parietal, anterior cingulate, left and right fusiforms). To obtain a better fit for ERPs recorded in each task, two sources (cuneus, left prefrontal area) had to be added. Consistently with PET findings, dipole modelling indicates that duration and intensity dimensions of a visual stimulus are processed in the same areas. However, ERPs also reveal prominent differences between the time course of the dipole activations for each task, particularly for sources contributing to the late latency ERP components. In the intensity task, dipoles located in the cuneus, the anterior cingulate, and the left prefrontal area yield largest activity within the P300 interval, then activity diminishes rapidly as the stimulus ends, whereas in the duration task, the cuneus and anterior cingulate are still active several hundred milliseconds following stimulus offset. Moreover, in the duration task, the activity of the right frontal dipole parallels the CNV waveform, whereas in the intensity task, this dipole is largely inactive. We assume that the right frontal area plays a specific role in the formation of temporal judgments.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Event-related potentials
  • Extrastriate areas
  • Intensity
  • PET
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Time
  • Visual discrimination

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  • Viviane Pouthas

  • Line Garnero

  • Anne Marie Ferrandez

  • Bernard Renault

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