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Nathan Petro, Vladimir Miskovic, Andreas Keil; Pavlovian Conditioning and the Koniocellular Pathway Using Steady-State-Evoked Potentials. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):511. doi: 10.1167/14.10.511.
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Many studies suggest that sensory cortical responses to affectively engaging arousing stimuli are amplified, compared to neutral stimuli. Past research demonstrates gradually increased electrocortical facilitation of lower-tier visual signals with acquired relevance, through classical differential Pavlovian conditioning. The neural mechanism mediating these changes is not known however. One potential avenue to addressing this problem are studies examining the sensitivity of specific visual pathways to learned motivational relevance. Here, steady-state-evoked potentials were used to test whether visuocortical neural mass activity responded differentially to conditioned motion direction cues paired or unpaired with a loud noise. Using this design, we investigated the extent to which luminance-based and koniocellular-based stimuli are differentially sensitive to visual motion kinematograms predictive or not predictive of the noxious unconditioned stimulus. Koniocells were uniquely activated using a yellowish-hue based adaptation procedure designed to isolate s-cones, while a luminance stimulus type served as a control. Both stimulus types evoked greater neural activity when paired with a US. Overall the koniocellular-biased stimulus displayed an overall higher steady-state power. These results demonstrate that neurons coding visual motion information respond to Pavlovian conditioning. While the koniocell pathway did not show a unique effect of motion conditioning, the overall greater steady-state power warrants further exploration.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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