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Thomas Schmidt, Nuria Vath; Tracing sequential waves of rapid visuomotoractivation in lateralized readiness potentials. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):426. doi: 10.1167/7.9.426.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Feedforward activation processes are widely regarded as crucial for the automatic initiation of motor responses, whereas recurrent processes are often regarded as crucial for visual awareness. Here, we used a set of behavioral criteria to evaluate whether rapid processing in the visuomotor system proceeds as would be expected of a feedforward system that works independent of visual awareness. We measured lateralized readiness potentials (LRPs) for keypress responses to color targets (“masks”) preceded by masked color primes mapped onto the same or opposite response, and traced the time-course of motor activation as a function of different prime and mask characteristics. LRP time-courses showed that initial motor activation occurred in prime direction and was time-locked to prime onset. Response activation was then captured on-line by the mask signal, with motor activation now time-locked to the mask and proceeding in mask direction. Crucially, the time-course of early activation by the prime was independent of all mask characteristics. This invariance in early priming effects contrasted with large differences in visual awareness for the prime produced by different masks. Results suggest that primed responses to color stimuli are controlled by feedforward waves of activation sequentially elicited by prime and mask signals travelling rapidly enough to escape the recurrent processes leading to backward masking.
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