Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Internal and external influences on the rate of sensory evidence accumulation in the human brain
    (Society for Neuroscience, 2013-12-11) ;
    We frequently need to make timely decisions based on sensory evidence that is weak, ambiguous, or noisy resulting from conditions in the external environment (e.g., a cluttered visual scene) or within the brain itself (e.g., inattention, neural noise). Here we examine how externally and internally driven variations in the quality of sensory evidence affect the build-to-threshold dynamics of a supramodal 'decision variable' signal and, hence, the timing and accuracy of decision reports in humans. Observers performed a continuous-monitoring version of the prototypical two-alternative dot-motion discrimination task, which is known to strongly benefit from sequential sampling and temporal accumulation of evidence. A centroparietal positive potential (CPP), which we previously established as a supramodal decision signal based on its invariance to motor or sensory parameters, exhibited two key identifying properties associated with the 'decision variable' long described in sequential sampling models: (1) its buildup rate systematically scaled with sensory evidence strength across four levels of motion coherence, consistent with temporal integration; and (2) its amplitude reached a stereotyped level at the moment of perceptual report executions, consistent with a boundary-crossing stopping criterion. The buildup rate of the CPP also strongly predicted reaction time within coherence levels (i.e., independent of physical evidence strength), and this endogenous variation was linked with attentional fluctuations indexed by the level of parieto-occipital α-band activity preceding target onset. In tandem with the CPP, build-to-threshold dynamics were also observed in an effector-selective motor preparation signal; however, the buildup of this motor-specific process significantly lagged that of the supramodal process.
      372Scopus© Citations 214
  • Publication
    Spatial attention modulates initial afferent activity in human primary visual cortex
    (Oxford University Press, 2008-11) ; ;
    It is well established that spatially directed attention enhances visual perceptual processing. However, the earliest level at which processing can be affected remains unknown. To date, there has been no report of modulation of the earliest visual event-related potential component 'C1' in humans, which indexes initial afference in primary visual cortex (V1). Thus it has been suggested that initial V1 activity is impenetrable, and that the earliest modulations occur in extrastriate cortex. However, the C1 is highly variable across individuals, to the extent that uniform measurement across a group may poorly reflect the dynamics of V1 activity. In the present study we employed an individualized mapping procedure to control for such variability. Parameters for optimal C1 measurement were determined in an independent, preliminary 'probe' session and later applied in a follow-up session involving a spatial cueing task. In the spatial task, subjects were cued on each trial to direct attention toward 1 of 2 locations in anticipation of an imperative Gabor stimulus and were required to detect a region of lower luminance appearing within the Gabor pattern 30% of the time at the cued location only. Our data show robust spatial attentional enhancement of the C1, beginning as early as its point of onset (57 ms). Source analysis of the attentional modulations points to generation in striate cortex. This finding demonstrates that at the very moment that visual information first arrives in cortex, it is already being shaped by the brain's attentional biases.
      244Scopus© Citations 169
  • Publication
    Neurocomputational mechanisms of prior-informed perceptual decision-making in humans
    To interact successfully with diverse sensory environments, we must adapt our decision processes to account for time constraints and prior probabilities. The full set of decision-process parameters that undergo such flexible adaptation has proven to be difficult to establish using simplified models that are based on behaviour alone. Here, we utilize well-characterized human neurophysiological signatures of decision formation to construct and constrain a build-to-threshold decision model with multiple build-up (evidence accumulation and urgency) and delay components (pre- and post-decisional). The model indicates that all of these components were adapted in distinct ways and, in several instances, fundamentally differ from the conclusions of conventional diffusion modelling. The neurally informed model outcomes were corroborated by independent neural decision signal observations that were not used in the model’s construction. These findings highlight the breadth of decision-process parameters that are amenable to strategic adjustment and the value in leveraging neurophysiological measurements to quantify these adjustments.
      222Scopus© Citations 13