Theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation to the prefrontal or parietal cortex does not impair metacognitive visual awareness

Bor, Daniel, Schwartzman, David J, Barrett, Adam B and Seth, Anil K (2017) Theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation to the prefrontal or parietal cortex does not impair metacognitive visual awareness. PLoS ONE, 12 (2). e0171793 1-20. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Neuroimaging studies commonly associate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and pos- terior parietal cortex with conscious perception. However, such studies only investigate cor- relation, rather than causation. In addition, many studies conflate objective performance with subjective awareness. In an influential recent paper, Rounis and colleagues addressed these issues by showing that continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (cTBS) applied to the DLPFC impaired metacognitive (subjective) awareness for a percep- tual task, while objective performance was kept constant. We attempted to replicate this finding, with minor modifications, including an active cTBS control site. Using a between- subjects design for both DLPFC and posterior parietal cortices, we found no evidence of a cTBS-induced metacognitive impairment. In a second experiment, we devised a highly rig- orous within-subjects cTBS design for DLPFC, but again failed to find any evidence of meta- cognitive impairment. One crucial difference between our results and the Rounis study is our strict exclusion of data deemed unsuitable for a signal detection theory analysis. Indeed, when we included this unstable data, a significant, though invalid, metacognitive impairment was found. These results cast doubt on previous findings relating metacognitive awareness to DLPFC, and inform the current debate concerning whether or not prefrontal regions are preferentially implicated in conscious perception.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Marianne Cole
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 15:14
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 13:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/77464

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