The steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) reflects the activation of cortical object representations: evidence from semantic stimulus repetition

Autor(en): Radtke, Elise L.
Martens, Ulla
Gruber, Thomas 
Stichwörter: Neurosciences; Neurosciences & Neurology; Object representations; Repetition suppression; Semantic priming; SSVEP
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Herausgeber: SPRINGER
Volumen: 239
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 545
Seitenende: 555
We applied high-density EEG to examine steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) during a perceptual/semantic stimulus repetition design. SSVEPs are evoked oscillatory cortical responses at the same frequency as visual stimuli flickered at this frequency. In repetition designs, stimuli are presented twice with the repetition being task irrelevant. The cortical processing of the second stimulus is commonly characterized by decreased neuronal activity (repetition suppression). The behavioral consequences of stimulus repetition were examined in a companion reaction time pre-study using the same experimental design as the EEG study. During the first presentation of a stimulus, we confronted participants with drawings of familiar object images or object words, respectively. The second stimulus was either a repetition of the same object image (perceptual repetition; PR) or an image depicting the word presented during the first presentation (semantic repetition; SR)-all flickered at 15 Hz to elicit SSVEPs. The behavioral study revealed priming effects in both experimental conditions (PR and SR). In the EEG, PR was associated with repetition suppression of SSVEP amplitudes at left occipital and repetition enhancement at left temporal electrodes. In contrast, SR was associated with SSVEP suppression at left occipital and central electrodes originating in bilateral postcentral and occipital gyri, right middle frontal and right temporal gyrus. The conclusion of the presented study is twofold. First, SSVEP amplitudes do not only index perceptual aspects of incoming sensory information but also semantic aspects of cortical object representation. Second, our electrophysiological findings can be interpreted as neuronal underpinnings of perceptual and semantic priming.
ISSN: 00144819
DOI: 10.1007/s00221-020-05992-8

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