Dynamical Network States as Predisposition of Perception


The neural correlates of consciousness have been addressed utilizing some well-controlled stimulus presentation, i.e., in a poststimulus phase. However, an increasing amount of evidence using near-threshold stimuli shows robust effects in the prestimulus phase, in particular in the alpha range, predicting whether the upcoming stimulus will be perceived. Conventionally, this has been linked to inhibition ideas surrounding alpha oscillations, meaning that local excitability (i.e., whether a neural assembly is closer to discharge threshold) is the determining factor. Yet, this very “local” interpretation is at odds with most poststimulus data as well as major theoretical frameworks. In this chapter, we will push forward an alternative interpretation, i.e., that the functional neural architecture is decisive, in particular, the coupling patterns of relevant sensory areas. This new framework allows to bridge the apparent explanatory gap between the mainstream prestimulus literature and the current ideas on conscious perception. We will give examples from our laboratory.

Multimodal Oscillation-based Connectivity Theory