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Special Issue: Consciousness science and its theories Comparing stimulus-evoked and spontaneous response of the face-selective multi-units in the human posterior fusiform gyrus

Abstract : The stimulus-evoked neural response is a widely explored phenomenon. Conscious awareness is associated in many cases with the corresponding selective stimulus-evoked response. For example, conscious awareness of a face stimulus is associated with or accompanied by stimulus-evoked activity in the fusiform face area (FFA). In addition to the stimulus-evoked response, spontaneous (i.e. task-unrelated) activity in the brain is also abundant. Notably, spontaneous activity is considered unconscious. For example, spontaneous activity in the FFA is not associated with conscious awareness of a face. The question is: what is the difference at the neural level between stimulus-evoked activity in a case that this activity is associated with conscious awareness of some content (e.g. activity in the FFA in response to fully visible face stimuli) and spontaneous activity in that same region of the brain? To answer this question, in the present study, we had a rare opportunity to record two face-selective multi-units in the vicinity of the FFA in a human patient. We compared multi-unit face-selective task-evoked activity with spontaneous prestimulus and a resting-state activity. We found that when activity was examined over relatively long temporal windows (e.g. 100-200 ms), face-selective stimulus-evoked firing in the recorded multi-units was much higher than the spontaneous activity. In contrast, when activity was examined over relatively short windows, we found many cases of high firing rates within the spontaneous activity that were comparable to stimulus-evoked activity. Our results thus indicate that the sustained activity is what might differentiate between stimulus-evoked activity that is associated with conscious awareness and spontaneous activity.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 3:41:48 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 4:03:01 AM

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Rina Schwartz, Camille Rozier, Tal Seidel Malkinson, Katia Lehongre, Claude Adam, et al.. Special Issue: Consciousness science and its theories Comparing stimulus-evoked and spontaneous response of the face-selective multi-units in the human posterior fusiform gyrus. Neuroscience of Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2021, 2021 (2), ⟨10.1093/nc/niab033⟩. ⟨hal-03404316⟩

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