Tuned by experience: How orientation probability modulates early perceptual processing

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Probable stimuli are more often and more quickly detected. While stimulus probability is known to affect decision-making, it can also be explained as a perceptual phenomenon. Using spatial gratings, we have previously shown that probable orientations are also more precisely estimated, even while participants remained naive to the manipulation. We conducted an electrophysiological study to investigate the effect that probability has on perception and visual-evoked potentials. In line with previous studies on oddballs and stimulus prevalence, low-probability orientations were associated with a greater late positive ‘P300’ component which might be related to either surprise or decision-making. However, the early ‘C1’ component, thought to reflect V1 processing, was dampened for high-probability orientations while later P1 and N1 components were unaffected. Exploratory analyses revealed a participant-level correlation between C1 and P300 amplitudes, suggesting a link between perceptual processing and decision-making. We discuss how these probability effects could be indicative of sharpening of neurons preferring the probable orientations, due either to perceptual learning, or to feature-based attention.

    loading  Loading Related Articles