Publication 1939

Gho M. & Varela F. J. (1989) A quantitative assessment of the dependency of the visual temporal frame upon the cortical alpha rhythm. Journal de Physiologie 83(2): 95–101.
This paper reports an attempt to measure the dependency of the visual temporal frame on cortical rhythms. As a probe, we used two short flashes of a point light source separated in time by a variable interstimulus interval (ISI). Subjects were asked to judge whether the two short flashes were perceived as simultaneous or as sequential. The onset of the light flashes was triggered at four chosen phases of the occipital alpha rhythm of the viewing subject, and the probabilities of perceived simultaneity at various ISI’s were obtained. Data from three experimental subjects show that the triggering phase produced a significant shift along the ISI-axis, thus changing the probability of perceived simultaneity. The magnitude of this shift varied substantially across subjects. These results show that, although cortical rhythms correlate with perceptual framing as previously reported (Varela et al., 1981), the nature of this dependency is different than previously suggested: a visual temporal frame seems to be a local event at the cortex, and not a global coordination uniformly reflected in the alpha rhythm.
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