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Brain Cogn. 2008 Feb;66(1):91-103. Epub 2007 Jul 30.

The earliest electrophysiological correlate of visual awareness?

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Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland.


To examine the neural correlates and timing of human visual awareness, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) in two experiments while the observers were detecting a grey dot that was presented near subjective threshold. ERPs were averaged for conscious detections of the stimulus (hits) and nondetections (misses) separately. Our results revealed that hits, as compared to misses, showed a negativity around 180-350 ms at occipital and posterior temporal sites. It was followed by a positive wave after 400-500 ms, peaking at parietal sites. These correlates were not affected by a manipulation of attention. The early negativity, called 'visual awareness negativity' (VAN), may be a general, primary electrophysiological correlate of visual awareness. The present data show that it can be observed in response to appearance of a stimulus in visual awareness and that it generalizes across different manipulations of stimulus visibility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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