Enhancement of a genuine visual mismatch negativity correlates with the facilitation of perceptual alternation of a bistable image


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Abstract

By focusing on the automatic visual change detection process, the present study attempted to clarify neural processing relevant to the exogenously driven perceptual alternation (ePA) of a bistable image. In our recent electroencephalographic study, the oddball paradigm was adopted to the continuous presentation of a bistable image to record visual mismatch negativity (vMMN, a relative enhancement in the brain response to a deviant over a repetitively presented standard, reflecting the visual change detection process and prediction error to the deviant over the standard). In terms of interindividual differences in behavioral and neural data, a correlation was reported previously between the enhancement of vMMN and facilitation of perceptual alternation, suggesting the involvement of the visual change detection process in ePA. However, the vMMN recorded was expected to be confounded by neural adaptation to the repetitively presented standard; thus, it currently remains unclear whether visual change detection not dependent on neural adaptation, reflected in a ‘genuine vMMN’, is relevant to ePA. To examine this issue, the present study used a new stimulation paradigm, based on the so-called equiprobable paradigm, to mitigate neural adaptation. The results showed that a genuine vMMN significantly emerged and correlated with an increase in the proportion of perceptual alternation across participants. This supports the involvement of the automatic visual change detection process, not dependent on neural adaptation, in facilitating perceptual alternation. The present results provide a deeper understanding of the involvement of the visual change detection process in ePA.

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