Local cortical desynchronization and pupil-linked arousal differentially shape brain states for optimal sensory performance

  1. Leonhard Waschke  Is a corresponding author
  2. Sarah Tune
  3. Jonas Obleser  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Lübeck, Germany

Abstract

Instantaneous brain states have consequences for our sensation, perception, and behaviour. Fluctuations in arousal and neural desynchronization likely pose perceptually relevant states. However, their relationship and their relative impact on perception is unclear. We here show that, at the single-trial level in humans, local desynchronization in sensory cortex (expressed as time-series entropy) versus pupil-linked arousal differentially impact perceptual processing. While we recorded electroencephalography (EEG) and pupillometry data, stimuli of a demanding auditory discrimination task were presented into states of high or low desynchronization of auditory cortex via a real-time closed-loop setup. Desynchronization and arousal distinctly influenced stimulus-evoked activity and shaped behaviour displaying an inverted u-shaped relationship: States of intermediate desynchronization elicited minimal response bias and fastest responses, while states of intermediate arousal gave rise to highest response sensitivity. Our results speak to a model in which independent states of local desynchronization and global arousal jointly optimise sensory processing and performance.

Data availability

EEG data and pupillometry data are publicly available on the Open Science Framework (OSF) https://osf.io/f9kzs/. Custom computer code to reproduce all essential findings are publicly available on the OSF https://osf.io/f9kzs/

The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Leonhard Waschke

    Department of Psychology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
    For correspondence
    leonhard.waschke@uni-luebeck.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1248-9259
  2. Sarah Tune

    Department of Psychology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9022-9965
  3. Jonas Obleser

    Department of Psychology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
    For correspondence
    jonas.obleser@uni-luebeck.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7619-0459

Funding

H2020 European Research Council (646696)

  • Jonas Obleser

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jonathan Erik Peelle, Washington University in St. Louis, United States

Ethics

Human subjects: Participants gave written informed consent to participate and consent to publish the recorded data in anonymised form. They were financially compensated.The study was approved by the local ethics committee of the University of Lübeck (reference number 15-313) and all experimental procedures were carried out in accordance with the registered protocol.

Version history

  1. Received: August 30, 2019
  2. Accepted: December 8, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 10, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 7, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2019, Waschke et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Leonhard Waschke
  2. Sarah Tune
  3. Jonas Obleser
(2019)
Local cortical desynchronization and pupil-linked arousal differentially shape brain states for optimal sensory performance
eLife 8:e51501.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.51501

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.51501

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