Neuronavigated TMS of early visual cortex eliminates unconscious processing of chromatic stimuli
Publication date: Available online 21 November 2019Source: NeuropsychologiaAuthor(s): Mikko Hurme, Mika Koivisto, Linda Henriksson, Henry RailoAbstractSome neurological patients with primary visual cortex (V1) lesions can guide their behavior based on stimuli presented to their blind visual field. One example of this phenomenon is the ability to discriminate colors in the absence of awareness. These so-called patients with blindsight must have a neural pathway that bypasses V1, explaining their ability to unconsciously process stimuli. The pathways that have been most often hypothesized to be the cause of blindsight connect lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) or superior colliculus (SC) to extrastriate cortex, most likely V5, and parietal areas. To test if similar pathways function in neurologically healthy individuals or if unconscious processing depends on early visual cortex, we disturbed the visibility of a chromatic stimulus with metacontrast masking (Experiment 1) or neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of early visual cortex, exact target being retinotopically mapped V1 (Experiment 2). We measured unconscious processing using the redundant target effect (RTE), which is the speeding up of reaction times in response to dual stimuli compared with one stimulus, when the task is to respond to any number of stimuli. An unconscious chromatic RTE was found when the visibility of the redundant chromatic stimulus was suppressed with a visual mask. When TMS was tar...
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