July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Tracking the spatio-temporal propagation of entrained alpha oscillations across the visual field
Author Affiliations
  • Rodika Sokoliuk
    Université de Toulouse, Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France\nCNRS, UMR 5549, Faculté de Médecine de Purpan, Toulouse, France
  • Rufin VanRullen
    Université de Toulouse, Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France\nCNRS, UMR 5549, Faculté de Médecine de Purpan, Toulouse, France
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 312. doi:10.1167/13.9.312
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    • Get Citation

      Rodika Sokoliuk, Rufin VanRullen; Tracking the spatio-temporal propagation of entrained alpha oscillations across the visual field. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):312. doi: 10.1167/13.9.312.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Visual perception largely depends on the state of the brain at each moment in time. In particular, recent work demonstrated that the precise phase of ongoing alpha oscillations (~10Hz) at the onset of a target stimulus can predict whether this stimulus will be perceived or not. Here, we employ this alpha phase-dependence of perception in a psychophysical experiment to track the spatio-temporal propagation of entrained alpha oscillations across the visual field: is oscillatory phase invariant over space, or does it propagate like a travelling wave? In each trial, observers (n=9) fixated a central dot on the screen while a disc in the upper-left quadrant oscillated in luminance at the individual alpha frequency of each participant, so as to entrain an alpha oscillation with a specific spatial origin. Flash stimuli at perceptual threshold (adjusted via a staircase procedure) appeared at different positions (logarithmically spaced on the screen to achieve regular spacing on visual cortex) within the upper-left, lower-left or upper-right quadrants, and at different times with respect to the entraining oscillation. Flash detection was reported by pressing a button within a given time delay. We evaluated at each spatial location how the probability of flash detection varied along with the phase of the entraining oscillation. Detection performance presented a global oscillation that was detectable across the entire visual field, peaking around the 'dark' phase of the entraining oscillation. After subtracting this global effect, a significant oscillatory pattern of performance remained visible at several locations; its phase, however, varied significantly across locations, producing a travelling wave that propagated through the visual field. We conclude that it is possible to track, in a psychophysical paradigm, the spatio-temporal dynamics of the propagation of entrained alpha oscillations across the visual field. This propagation takes the form of a travelling wave, impacting perception in its wake.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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