3 years ago

Passive sensorimotor stimulation triggers long lasting alpha-band fluctuations in visual perception.

Alessandro D'Ausilio, Alice Tomassini
Movement planning and execution rely on the anticipation and online control of the incoming sensory input. Evidence suggests that sensorimotor processes may synchronize visual rhythmic activity in preparation of action performance. Indeed, we recently reported periodic fluctuations of visual contrast sensitivity which are time-locked to the onset of an intended movement of the arm. However, the origin of the observed visual modulations has so far remained unclear due to the endogenous (and thus temporally undetermined) activation of the sensorimotor system that is associated with voluntary movement initiation. Here, we activated the sensorimotor circuitry involved in the hand control in an exogenous and controlled way by means of peripheral stimulation of the median nerve and characterized the spectrotemporal dynamics of the ensuing visual perception. The stimulation of the median nerve triggers robust and long-lasting (1 s) alpha-band oscillations in visual perception, whose strength is temporally modulated in a way that is consistent with the changes in alpha power described at the neurophysiological level after sensorimotor stimulation. These findings provide evidence in support of a causal role of the sensorimotor system in modulating oscillatory activity in visual areas with consequences for visual perception.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00496.2017

DOI: 10.1152/jn.00496.2017

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