​Frequency-specific neural signatures of perceptual content and perceptual stability

  1. Richard Hardstone
  2. Matthew W Flounders
  3. Michael Zhu
  4. Biyu J He  Is a corresponding author
  1. New York University, United States

Abstract

In the natural environment, we often form stable perceptual experiences from ambiguous and fleeting sensory inputs. Which neural activity underlies the content of perception and which neural activity supports perceptual stability remains an open question. We used a bistable perception paradigm involving ambiguous images to behaviorally dissociate perceptual content from perceptual stability, and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure whole-brain neural dynamics in humans. Combining multivariate decoding and neural state-space analyses, we found frequency band-specific neural signatures that underlie the content of perception and promote perceptual stability, respectively. Across different types of images, non-oscillatory neural activity in the slow cortical potential (SCP, <5 Hz) range supported the content of perception. Perceptual stability was additionally influenced by the amplitude of alpha and beta oscillations. In addition, neural activity underlying perceptual memory, which supports perceptual stability when sensory input is temporally removed from view, also encodes elapsed time. Together, these results reveal distinct neural mechanisms that support the content vs. stability of visual perception.

Data availability

The dataset generated by this study, including data and code to reproduce all the figures, are shared through figshare: https://figshare.com/s/c328299bea96686c2eec

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Richard Hardstone

    Neuroscience Institute, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7502-9145
  2. Matthew W Flounders

    Neuroscience Institute, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7014-4665
  3. Michael Zhu

    Neuroscience Institute, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Biyu J He

    Neuroscience Institute, New York University, New York, United States
    For correspondence
    biyu.jade.he@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1549-1351

Funding

National Science Foundation (BCS-1753218)

  • Biyu J He

Irma T. Hirschl Trust

  • Biyu J He

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

Ethics

Human subjects: This experiment was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (under protocol #14 N-0002). All subjects provided written informed consent for the research use and eventual publication of their data.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Huan Luo, Peking University, China

Publication history

  1. Received: February 23, 2022
  2. Accepted: September 18, 2022
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: September 20, 2022 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2022, Hardstone 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. Richard Hardstone
  2. Matthew W Flounders
  3. Michael Zhu
  4. Biyu J He
(2022)
​Frequency-specific neural signatures of perceptual content and perceptual stability
eLife 11:e78108.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78108
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