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Precisely timed oculomotor and parietal EEG activity in perceptual switching

By Hironori Nakatani, Nicoletta Orlandi and Cees van Leeuwen


Blinks and saccades cause transient interruptions of visual input. To investigate how such effects influence our perceptual state, we analyzed the time courses of blink and saccade rates in relation to perceptual switching in the Necker cube. Both time courses of blink and saccade rates showed peaks at different moments along the switching process. A peak in blinking rate appeared 1,000 ms prior to the switching responses. Blinks occurring around this peak were associated with subsequent switching to the preferred interpretation of the Necker cube. Saccade rates showed a peak 150 ms prior to the switching response. The direction of saccades around this peak was predictive of the perceived orientation of the Necker cube afterwards. Peak blinks were followed and peak saccades were preceded by transient parietal theta band activity indicating the changing of the perceptual interpretation. Precisely-timed blinks, therefore, can initiate perceptual switching, and precisely-timed saccades can facilitate an ongoing change of interpretation

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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