Dissociating the effect of noise on sensory processing and overall decision difficulty

Éva M. Bankó, Viktor Gál, Judit Körtvélyes, Gyula Kovács, Z. Vidnyánszky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been proposed that perceptual decision making involves a task-difficulty component, which detects perceptual uncertainty and guides allocation of attentional resources. It is thought to take place immediately after the early extraction of sensory information and is specifically reflected in a positive component of the event related potentials, peaking at ∼220 ms after stimulus onset. However, in the previous research, neural processes associated with the monitoring of overall task difficulty were confounded by those associated with the increased sensory processing demands as a result of adding noise to the stimuli. Here we dissociated the effect of phase noise on sensory processing and overall decision difficulty using a face gender categorization task. Task difficulty was manipulated either by adding noise to the stimuli or by adjusting the female/male characteristics of the face images. We found that it is the presence of noise and not the increased overall task difficulty that affects the electrophysiological responses in the first 300 ms following stimulus onset in humans. Furthermore, we also showed that processing of phase-randomized as compared to intact faces is associated with increased fMRI responses in the lateral occipital cortex. These results revealed that noise-induced modulation of the early electrophysiological responses reflects increased visual cortical processing demands and thus failed to provide support for a task-difficulty component taking place between the early sensory processing and the later sensory accumulation stages of perceptual decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2663-2674
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 16 2011

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Noise
Decision Making
Occipital Lobe
Resource Allocation
Information Storage and Retrieval
Evoked Potentials
Uncertainty
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Dissociating the effect of noise on sensory processing and overall decision difficulty. / Bankó, Éva M.; Gál, Viktor; Körtvélyes, Judit; Kovács, Gyula; Vidnyánszky, Z.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 31, No. 7, 16.02.2011, p. 2663-2674.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bankó, Éva M. ; Gál, Viktor ; Körtvélyes, Judit ; Kovács, Gyula ; Vidnyánszky, Z. / Dissociating the effect of noise on sensory processing and overall decision difficulty. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 ; Vol. 31, No. 7. pp. 2663-2674.
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