Integration And Differentiation Of Neural Information Dissociate Between Conscious Percepts [article]

Andres Canales-Johnson, Alexander Billig, Francisco Olivares, Andres Gonzalez, Maria del Carmen Garcia, Walter Silva, Carlos Ciraolo, Esteban Vaucheret, Ezequiel Mikulan, Agustin Ibanez, Valdas Noreika, Srivas Chennu (+1 others)
2017 bioRxiv   pre-print
At any given moment, we experience a perceptual scene as a single whole and yet we may distinguish a variety of objects within it. This characteristic of perception instantiates two general properties of phenomenological experience: integration and differentiation. While integration is the property of experiencing a collection of objects as a unitary percept, differentiation is the property of experiencing these objects as different percepts. Little is known about how these two phenomenological
more » ... properties are dynamically indexed by the brain in terms of information processing. Here we evaluated the dynamics of neural information underlying phenomenological integration and differentiation in bistable perception. Participants listened to auditory bistable stimuli, a sequence of tones experienced either as a (single) integrated percept (phenomenological integration) or as two (parallel) differentiated percepts (phenomenological differentiation). We computed neurophysiological indices of information integration and information differentiation with electroencephalographic and direct cortical recordings in human participants. We focused specifically on the gamma-band dynamics within the frontoparietal network, commonly implicated in conscious processing. In electrical recordings at the scalp and intracranially, the phenomenologically integrated percept generated an increase in neural information integration and a decrease in differentiation between frontal and parietal regions, whereas the opposite pattern was observed for the phenomenologically differentiated percept. This effect was not observed in the auditory control task. Furthermore, this dissociation was not observed when computing traditional measures of neural oscillatory integration (phase synchronization) within the same frontoparietal network and frequency range. However, this frontoparietal phase synchrony was able to distinguish between a stable perceptual window and the transitional period between the two percepts. These theoretically-motivated neural indices of information dynamics dissociated phenomenological integration and differentiation that indices of oscillatory dynamics did not. By incorporating theoretically motivated measures of information theory in the characterization of perceptual content, we contribute to the construction of a testable framework to investigate the neuroscience of conscious experience.
doi:10.1101/133801 fatcat:wtk4ob6a4rdudek7snk436rmvm