Visual search performance is predicted by both prestimulus and poststimulus electrical brain activity.
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An individual's performance on cognitive and perceptual tasks varies considerably across time and circumstances. We investigated neural mechanisms underlying such performance variability using regression-based analyses to examine trial-by-trial relationships between response times (RTs) and different facets of electrical brain activity. Thirteen participants trained five days on a color-popout visual-search task, with EEG recorded on days one and five. The task was to find a color-popout target ellipse in a briefly presented array of ellipses and discriminate its orientation. Later within a session, better preparatory attention (reflected by less prestimulus Alpha-band oscillatory activity) and better poststimulus early visual responses (reflected by larger sensory N1 waves) correlated with faster RTs. However, N1 amplitudes decreased by half throughout each session, suggesting adoption of a more efficient search strategy within a session. Additionally, fast RTs were preceded by earlier and larger lateralized N2pc waves, reflecting faster and stronger attentional orienting to the targets. Finally, SPCN waves associated with target-orientation discrimination were smaller for fast RTs in the first but not the fifth session, suggesting optimization with practice. Collectively, these results delineate variations in visual search processes that change over an experimental session, while also pointing to cortical mechanisms underlying performance in visual search.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1038/srep37718
Publication InfoAppelbaum, Lawrence Gregory; Clark, K; Lorist, MM; van den Berg, Berry; & Woldorff, Marty G (2016). Visual search performance is predicted by both prestimulus and poststimulus electrical brain activity. Sci Rep, 6. pp. 37718. 10.1038/srep37718. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13522.
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Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Greg Appelbaum is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Duke University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Brain Stimulation Division of Psychiatry, where he directs the Human Performance Optimization lab (Opti Lab) and the Brain Stimulation Research Center As a member
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Woldorff's main research interest is in the cognitive neuroscience of attention. At each and every moment of our lives, we are bombarded by a welter of sensory information coming at us from a myriad of directions and through our various sensory modalities -- much more than we can fully process. We must continuously select and extract the most important information from this welter of sensory inputs. How the human brain accomplishes this is one of the core challenges of modern cognitive neuro
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