Conscious perception and the modulatory role of dopamine: no effect of the dopamine D2 agonist cabergoline on visual masking, the attentional blink, and probabilistic discrimination

Boonstra, E A, van Schouwenburg, M R, Seth, A K, Bauer, M, Zantvoord, J B, Kemper, E M, Lansink, C S and Slagter, H A (2020) Conscious perception and the modulatory role of dopamine: no effect of the dopamine D2 agonist cabergoline on visual masking, the attentional blink, and probabilistic discrimination. Psychopharmacology. ISSN 0033-3158

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Abstract

Rationale
Conscious perception is thought to depend on global amplification of sensory input. In recent years, striatal dopamine has been proposed to be involved in gating information and conscious access, due to its modulatory influence on thalamocortical connectivity.

Objectives
Since much of the evidence that implicates striatal dopamine is correlational, we conducted a double-blind crossover pharmacological study in which we administered cabergoline—a dopamine D2 agonist—and placebo to 30 healthy participants. Under both conditions, we subjected participants to several well-established experimental conscious-perception paradigms, such as backward masking and the attentional blink task.

Results
We found no evidence in support of an effect of cabergoline on conscious perception: key behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) findings associated with each of these tasks were unaffected by cabergoline.

Conclusions
Our results cast doubt on a causal role for dopamine in visual perception. It remains an open possibility that dopamine has causal effects in other tasks, perhaps where perceptual uncertainty is more prominent.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 07:56
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2020 12:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/91534

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