September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Ambient luminance changes modulate oscillatory properties of the visual system
Author Affiliations
  • Alessandro Benedetto
    Department of Translational Research on New Technologies in Medicines and Surgery, University of Pisa, Via San Zeno 31, 56123 Pisa, Italy
    Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, University of Florence, 50135 Florence, Italy
  • Diego Lozano-Soldevilla
    Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council (CNR), 56124 Pisa, ItalyCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Unité Mixte de Recherche 5549, Faculté de Médecine Purpan, Toulouse, France
  • Rufin Vanrullen
    Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council (CNR), 56124 Pisa, ItalyCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Unité Mixte de Recherche 5549, Faculté de Médecine Purpan, Toulouse, France
    Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 724. doi:10.1167/17.10.724
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    • Get Citation

      Alessandro Benedetto, Diego Lozano-Soldevilla, Rufin Vanrullen; Ambient luminance changes modulate oscillatory properties of the visual system. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):724. doi: 10.1167/17.10.724.

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

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Abstract

We investigated the effects of ambient luminance changes on neural oscillation dynamics. Brain oscillations, particularly in the alpha range (~10 Hz), are important in determining our percepts. Crucially, ambient luminance changes drastically modulate neural processing. However, the influence of luminance over brain rhythmicity is still not clear. Here, we investigated on 16 subjects the effect of ambient luminance on EEG alpha during spontaneous brain activity at rest (experiment 1) and on 12 subjects during the measurement of the EEG "impulse-response functions" (IRF, or echo function) or the evoked alpha (experiment 2). Results show that during resting, alpha amplitude increased at low luminance (p < 0.001), while luminance changes did not affect alpha frequency. In the second experiment, we found that under low-luminance viewing the IRF amplitude was lower (p < 0.001), and its frequency was slightly faster (p < 0.05). Crucially, the evoked alpha activity behaved differently from the echo function: while evoked alpha and echoes showed a similar amplitude modulation, luminance changes influenced the echo peak frequency but not that of evoked EEG alpha. Finally, we explored the behavioral effects of these modulations in a monocular critical flicker frequency task for 13 subjects (CFF, experiment 3), reporting a facilitatory effect of contralateral dark ambient luminance over temporal thresholds (p < 0.001). Globally, we found that ambient luminance changes affect neural oscillatory dynamics and greatly impact on the occipital alpha expression. These results suggest that the visual system adapts its oscillatory dynamics to fit the environmental light conditions.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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