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Stimulus anticipation improves perception. To account for this improvement, we investigated how stimulus processing is altered by anticipation. In contrast to a large body of previous work, we employed a demanding perceptual task and investigated sensory responses that occur beyond early evoked activity in contralateral primary sensory areas: Stimulus-induced modulations of neural oscillations. For this, we recorded magnetoencephalography in 19 humans while they performed a cued tactile identification task involving the identification of either a proximal or a distal stimulation on the fingertips. We varied the cue-target interval between 0 and 1000 ms such that tactile targets occurred at various degrees of anticipation. This allowed us to investigate the influence of anticipation on stimulus processing in a parametric fashion. We observed that anticipation increases the stimulus-induced response (suppression of beta-band oscillations) originating from the ipsilateral primary somatosensory cortex. This occurs in the period in which the tactile memory trace is analyzed and is correlated with the anticipation-induced improvement in tactile perception. We propose that this ipsilateral response indicates distributed processing across bilateral primary sensory cortices, of which the extent increases with anticipation. This constitutes a new and potentially important mechanism contributing to perception and its improvement following anticipation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/cercor/bht111

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cereb Cortex

Publication Date

10/2014

Volume

24

Pages

2562 - 2571

Keywords

attentional orienting, distributed sensory processing, magnetoencephalography, sensorimotor beta-oscillations, sensory memory maintenance, spatial attention, Adult, Anticipation, Psychological, Beta Rhythm, Cues, Female, Fingers, Humans, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Physical Stimulation, Somatosensory Cortex, Touch Perception