Phosphenes induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are sensations of light, whereas a missing region in the visual field induced by TMS is generally referred to as a scotoma. It is believed that phosphenes are caused by neural excitation, while scotomas are due to neural inhibition. In light of the recent literature it might, however, be surmised that both phenomena are the result of neural noise injected into the cortex by TMS and that the likelihood of perceiving the two kinds of percepts depends on the state of the cortex at the time of stimulation. In the present study, TMS was applied over the left occipital cortex under different background conditions (Experiments 1-2) and using different TMS intensities (Experiment 3). Behavioral responses indicate the visual system processes luminance in a standardized manner, as lighter percepts were reacted to faster than darker percepts; this effect, however, did not extend to percept size. Our results suggest that phenomenological characteristics of artificial visual percepts are in line with the proposed effects of TMS as the induction of random neural noise interfering with the neural dynamics (the state of the cortex) at the time of stimulation.

Shining new light on dark percepts: visual sensations induced by TMS

Knight, Ramisha Spruill;MAZZI, Chiara;SAVAZZI, Silvia
2015-01-01

Abstract

Phosphenes induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are sensations of light, whereas a missing region in the visual field induced by TMS is generally referred to as a scotoma. It is believed that phosphenes are caused by neural excitation, while scotomas are due to neural inhibition. In light of the recent literature it might, however, be surmised that both phenomena are the result of neural noise injected into the cortex by TMS and that the likelihood of perceiving the two kinds of percepts depends on the state of the cortex at the time of stimulation. In the present study, TMS was applied over the left occipital cortex under different background conditions (Experiments 1-2) and using different TMS intensities (Experiment 3). Behavioral responses indicate the visual system processes luminance in a standardized manner, as lighter percepts were reacted to faster than darker percepts; this effect, however, did not extend to percept size. Our results suggest that phenomenological characteristics of artificial visual percepts are in line with the proposed effects of TMS as the induction of random neural noise interfering with the neural dynamics (the state of the cortex) at the time of stimulation.
visual perception,phosphene,psychological phenomena
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/929130
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