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Large EEG amplitude effects are highly similar across Necker cube, smiley, and abstract stimuli

Abstract : The information available through our senses is noisy, incomplete, and ambiguous. Our perceptual systems have to resolve this ambiguity to construct stable and reliable percepts. Previous EEG studies found large amplitude differences in two event-related potential (ERP) components 200 and 400 ms after stimulus onset when comparing ambiguous with disambiguated visual information ("ERP Ambiguity Effects"). These effects so far generalized across classical ambiguous figures from different visual categories at lower (geometry, motion) and intermediate (Gestalt perception) levels. The present study aimed to examine whether these ERP Effects are restricted to ambiguous figures or whether they also occur for different degrees of visibility. Smiley faces with low and high visibility of emotional expressions, as well as abstract figures with low and high visibility of a target curvature were presented. We thus compared ambiguity effects in geometric cube stimuli with visibility in emotional faces, and with visibility in abstract figures. ERP Effects were replicated for the geometric stimuli and very similar ERP Effects were found for stimuli with emotional face expressions but also for abstract figures. Conclusively, the ERP amplitude effects generalize across fundamentally different stimulus categories and show highly similar effects for different degrees of stimulus ambiguity and stimulus visibility. We postulate the existence of a high-level/meta-perceptual evaluation instance, beyond sensory details, that estimates the certainty of a perceptual decision. The ERP Effects may reflect differences in evaluation results.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 11:06:24 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 10, 2020 - 3:40:16 AM

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Ellen Joos, Anne Giersch, Lukas Hecker, Julia Schipp, Sven Heinrich, et al.. Large EEG amplitude effects are highly similar across Necker cube, smiley, and abstract stimuli. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, 15 (5), pp.e0232928. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0232928⟩. ⟨inserm-02894760⟩

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