Oscillatory mechanisms of conscious perception and attention

Trajkovic, Jelena (2023) Oscillatory mechanisms of conscious perception and attention, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Psychology, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10854.
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Although the prominent role of neural oscillations in perception and cognition has been continuously investigated, some critical questions remain unanswered. My PhD thesis was aimed at addressing some of them. First, can we dissociate oscillatory underpinnings of perceptual accuracy and subjective awareness? Current work would strongly suggest that this dissociation can be drawn. While the fluctuations in alpha-amplitude decide perceptual bias and metacognitive abilities, the speed of alpha activity (i.e., alpha-frequency) dictates sensory sampling, shaping perceptual accuracy. Second, how are these oscillatory mechanisms integrated during attention? The obtained results indicate that a top-down visuospatial mechanism modulates neural assemblies in visual areas via oscillatory re-alignment and coherence in the alpha/beta range within the fronto-parietal brain network. These perceptual predictions are reflected in the retinotopically distributed posterior alpha-amplitude, while perceptual accuracy is explained by the higher alpha-frequency at the to-be-attended location. Finally, sensory input, elaborated via fast gamma oscillations, is linked to specific phases of this slower activity via oscillatory nesting, enabling integration of the feedback-modulated oscillatory activity with sensory information. Third, how can we relate this oscillatory activity to other neural markers of behaviour (i.e., event-related potentials)? The obtained results favour the oscillatory model of ERP genesis, where alpha-frequency shapes the latency of early evoked-potentials, namely P1, with both neural indices being related to perceptual accuracy. On the other hand, alpha-amplitude dictates the amplitude of later P3 evoked-response, whereas both indices shape subjective awareness. Crucially, by combining different methodological approaches, including neurostimulation (TMS) and neuroimaging (EEG), current work identified these oscillatory-behavior links as causal and not just as co-occurring events. Current work aimed at ameliorating the use of the TMS-EEG approach by explaining inter-individual differences in the stimulation outcomes, which could be proven crucial in the way we design entrainment experiments and interpret the results in both research and clinical settings.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Trajkovic, Jelena
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
TMS;EEG;brain oscillations;alpha-amplitude;alpha-frequency;gamma oscillations;visual perception;visual awareness;visual attention;TMS-EEG;entrainment;ERP;P1;P3;
Data di discussione
27 Giugno 2023

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