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Effects of a Manual Response Requirement on Early and Late Correlates of Auditory Awareness
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9924-5486
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 10, article id 2083Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In hearing, two neural correlates of awareness are the auditory awareness negativity (AAN) and the late positivity (LP). These correlates of auditory awareness are typically observed with tasks in which subjects are required to report their awareness with manual responses. Thus, the correlates may be confounded by this manual response requirement. We manipulated the response requirement in a tone detection task (N = 52). Tones were presented at each subject’s individual awareness threshold while high-density electroencephalography (EEG) activity was recorded. In one response condition, subjects pushed a button if they were aware of the tone and withheld responding if they were unaware of the tone. In the other condition, subjects pushed a button if they were unaware of the tone and withheld responding if they were aware of the tone. To capture AAN and LP, difference waves were computed between aware and unaware trials, separately for trials in which responses were required and trials in which responses were not required. Results suggest that AAN and LP are unaffected by the response requirement. These findings imply that in hearing, early and late correlates of awareness are not confounded by a manual response requirement. Furthermore, the results suggest that AAN originates from bilateral auditory cortices, supporting the view that AAN is a neural correlate of localized recurrent processing in early sensory areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 10, article id 2083
Keywords [en]
auditory awareness negativity, late positivity, consciousness, response requirement, source analysis
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172802DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02083ISI: 000484968300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172802DiVA, id: diva2:1349938
Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Electrophysiological correlates of consciousness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electrophysiological correlates of consciousness
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How does the brain enable us to experience seeing or hearing a stimulus? If a stimulus is repeatedly presented at the awareness threshold, subjects will report that they are aware of the stimulus on half of the presentations. Electroencephalography (EEG) can be used to non-invasively record neural activity as event-related potentials (ERPs). The contrastive analysis of neural activity to trials rated as aware minus neural activity to trials rated as unaware reveals the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). Research on the NCC in vision has resulted in two ERPs: an early negative difference wave (visual awareness negativity, VAN) and a subsequent late positivity (LP). Visual awareness may be reflected by one or both of these ERPs. However, the contrastive analysis (aware minus unaware) may not isolate the NCC because it arguably compares aware processing with a combination of unaware processing and no processing. In support, previous research that tried to isolate a comparison between aware processing and unaware processing found that LP was the only NCC. However, subsequent replications suggested VAN and LP as NCC. Because of these mixed results, we followed up on these studies in Study I with a preregistered design that manipulated stimulus size. Results showed VAN and LP as NCC. The findings provide evidence for VAN as an early NCC.

Another main goal of this thesis was to investigate auditory awareness. In Study II, an auditory threshold task was used, and the contrastive analysis revealed an early negative difference wave (auditory awareness negativity, AAN) and LP. These ERPs are comparable to VAN and LP in vision. Because post-perceptual processes related to responding may confound the NCC in contrastive analysis, no-response tasks can be used to isolate awareness-related activity. In vision, a previous study in which the manual response requirement was manipulated showed effects on LP but not on VAN. In Study III, we used a similar task with auditory stimuli at the awareness threshold. Results suggested that AAN and LP are unaffected by the response manipulation. However, the present no-response task may not be optimal for removing post-perceptual processing because subjects need to reflect on their experience even if they do not need to respond manually. Additional analyses that attempted source localization of the AAN suggested that it is generated in auditory cortex.

From a theoretical perspective, one view of these results is that VAN and AAN reflect local recurrent processing and that this is the neural signature of awareness, whereas LP reflects global recurrent processing that enables reporting. Other views suggest that VAN and AAN merely reflect preconscious processes, whereas LP and global recurrent processing reflect consciousness. The studies described in this thesis do not support one theory over the other but provide robust evidence for early neural correlates of visual and auditory awareness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 70
Keywords
neural correlates of consciousness, electroencephalography, event-related potentials, visual awareness negativity, auditory awareness negativity, recurrent processing, phenomenal consciousness, access consciousness
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172804 (URN)978-91-7797-795-7 (ISBN)978-91-7797-796-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-30, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-10-07 Created: 2019-09-12 Last updated: 2019-09-18Bibliographically approved

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