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Sensory variability and brain state : models, psychophysics, electrophysiology

Abstract : The same sensory input does not always trigger the same reaction. In laboratory experiments, a given stimulus may elicit a different response on each trial, particularly near the sensory threshold. This is usually attributed to an unspecific source of noise that affects the sensory representation of the stimulus or the decision process. In this thesis we explore the hypothesis that response variability can in part be attributed to measurable, spontaneous fluctuations of ongoing brain state. For this purpose, we develop and test two sets of tools. One is a set of models and psychophysical methods to follow variations of perceptual performance with good temporal resolution and accuracy on different time scales. These methods rely on the adaptive procedures that were developed for the efficient measurements of static sensory thresholds and are extended here for the purpose of tracking time-varying thresholds. The second set of tools we develop encompass data analysis methods to extract from electroencephalography (EEG) signals a quantity that is predictive of behavioral performance on various time scales. We applied these tools to joint recordings of EEG and behavioral data acquired while normal listeners performed a frequency-discrimination task on near-threshold auditory stimuli. Unlike what was reported in the literature for visual stimuli, we did not find evidence for any effects of ongoing low-frequency EEG oscillations on auditory performance. However, we found that a substantial part of judgment variability can be accounted for by effects of recent stimulus-response history on an ongoing decision.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02128244
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  • HAL Id : tel-02128244, version 1

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Dorothée Arzounian. Sensory variability and brain state : models, psychophysics, electrophysiology. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB055⟩. ⟨tel-02128244⟩

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