Decoding across sensory modalities reveals common supramodal signatures of conscious perception

Gaëtan Sanchez, Thomas Hartmann, Marco Fuscà, Gianpaolo Demarchi, Nathan Weisz

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikel


An increasing number of studies highlight common brain regions and processes in mediating conscious sensory experience. While most studies have been performed in the visual modality, it is implicitly assumed that similar processes are involved in other sensory modalities. However, the existence of supramodal neural processes related to conscious perception has not been convincingly shown so far. Here, we aim to directly address this issue by investigating whether neural correlates of conscious perception in one modality can predict conscious perception in a different modality. In two separate experiments, we presented participants with successive blocks of near-threshold tasks involving subjective reports of tactile, visual, or auditory stimuli during the same magnetoencephalography (MEG) acquisition. Using decoding analysis in the poststimulus period between sensory modalities, our first experiment uncovered supramodal spatiotemporal neural activity patterns predicting conscious perception of the feeble stimulation. Strikingly, these supramodal patterns included activity in primary sensory regions not directly relevant to the task (e.g., neural activity in visual cortex predicting conscious perception of auditory near-threshold stimulation). We carefully replicate our results in a control experiment that furthermore show that the relevant patterns are independent of the type of report (i.e., whether conscious perception was reported by pressing or withholding a button press). Using standard paradigms for probing neural correlates of conscious perception, our findings reveal a common signature of conscious access across sensory modalities and illustrate the temporally late and widespread broadcasting of neural representations, even into task-unrelated primary sensory processing regions.

Seiten (von - bis)7437-7446
FachzeitschriftProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Frühes Online-Datum17 Mär 2020
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 31 Mär 2020

Bibliographische Notiz

Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012

  • 501 Psychologie