Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems

CCNCS Seminar Details

Attention and consciousness level differentially modulate brain signatures of automatic and volitional processes

Speaker: Tristan Bekenschtein
Date/Time: Wednesday 4 April 2012, 4.15pm
Location: Cornwallis SW101


What is a marker of conscious processing without report? We designed an auditory cognitive paradigm to capture conscious awareness and detect it without muscle activity, no movement, no talking. Two levels of auditory rules (local and global) allowed us to differentially obtain a classical EEG marker of bottom up attention -the mismatch negativity (MMN)- and marker of top down attention -the P3b-. The MMN was resistant to attentional modulations and relatively resistant to sedation, showing properties of automatic nonconscious processing. The late p3b, marker of the abstract rule, was abolished by mindwandering and cognitive interference, and by lack of responsiveness due to sedation. Both markers are modulated when attention is deviated to the local or the global rule. These results help us to understand the nature of conscious and unconscious processes and the global-local task can be used as a probe of conscious processing in disorder of consciousness patients, during sedation or sleep.

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Centre for Cognitive Science and Cognitive Systems, School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 24/05/2013