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Human occipital and parietal GABA selectively influence visual perception of orientation and size

Song, Chen, Sandberg, Kristian, Andersen, Lau Møller, Blicher, Jakob Udby and Rees, Geraint 2017. Human occipital and parietal GABA selectively influence visual perception of orientation and size. Journal of Neuroscience 37 (37) , pp. 8929-8937. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3945-16.2017

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Abstract

GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in human brain. The level of GABA varies substantially across individuals, and this variability is associated with interindividual differences in visual perception. However, it remains unclear whether the association between GABA level and visual perception reflects a general influence of visual inhibition or whether the GABA levels of different cortical regions selectively influence perception of different visual features. To address this, we studied how the GABA levels of parietal and occipital cortices related to interindividual differences in size, orientation, and brightness perception. We used visual contextual illusion as a perceptual assay since the illusion dissociates perceptual content from stimulus content and the magnitude of the illusion reflects the effect of visual inhibition. Across individuals, we observed selective correlations between the level of GABA and the magnitude of contextual illusion. Specifically, parietal GABA level correlated with size illusion magnitude but not with orientation or brightness illusion magnitude; in contrast, occipital GABA level correlated with orientation illusion magnitude but not with size or brightness illusion magnitude. Our findings reveal a region- and feature-dependent influence of GABA level on human visual perception. Parietal and occipital cortices contain, respectively, topographic maps of size and orientation preference in which neural responses to stimulus sizes and stimulus orientations are modulated by intraregional lateral connections. We propose that these lateral connections may underlie the selective influence of GABA on visual perception.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Psychology
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 3 May 2017
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2019 16:46
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/106411

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