Noninvasive brain stimulation safely induces persistent large-scale neural modulation in functionally connected brain circuits. Interruption models of rTMS capitalize on the acute impact of brain stimulation, which decays over minutes. However, rTMS also induces longer-lasting impact on cortical functions, evident by the use of multi-session rTMS in clinical population for therapeutic purposes. Defining the persistent cortical dynamics induced by rTMS is complicated by the complex balance of excitation and inhibition among functionally connected networks. Nonetheless, it is these neuronal dynamic responses that are essential for the development of new neuromodulatory protocols for translational applications. We will review evidence of prolonged changes of cortical response, tens of minutes following one session of low frequency rTMS over the cortex. We will focus on the different methods which resulted in prolonged behavioral and brain changes, such as the combination of brain stimulation techniques, and individually tailored stimulation protocols. We will also highlight studies which apply these methods in multi-session stimulation practices to extend stimulation impact into weeks and months. Our data and others’ indicate that delayedcortical dynamics may persist much longer than previously thought and have potential as an extended temporal window during which cortical plasticity may be enhanced.
We examine whether peripheral information at a planned saccade target affects immediate post-saccadic processing at the fovea on saccade landing. Current neuroimaging research suggests that pre-saccadic stimulation has a late effect on post-saccadic processing, in contrast to the early effect seen in behavioral studies. Human participants (both male and female) were instructed to saccade toward a face or a house that, on different trials, remained the same, changed, or disappeared during the saccade. We used a multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of electroencephalography (EEG) data to decode face versus house processing directly after the saccade. The classifier was trained on separate trials without a saccade, where a house or face was presented at the fovea. When the saccade target remained the same across the saccade, we could reliably decode the target 123 ms after saccade offset. In contrast, when the target was changed during the saccade, the new target was decoded at a later time-point, 151 ms after saccade offset. The “same” condition advantage suggests that congruent pre-saccadic information facilitates processing of the post-saccadic stimulus compared to incongruent information. Finally, the saccade target could be decoded above chance even when it had been removed during the saccade, albeit with a slower time-course (162 ms) and poorer signal strength. These findings indicate that information about the (peripheral) pre-saccadic stimulus is transferred across the saccade so that it becomes quickly available and influences processing at its expected, new retinal position (the fovea).
Predictive coding theories propose that the brain creates internal models of the environment to predict upcoming sensory input. Hierarchical predictive coding models of vision postulate that higher visual areas generate predictions of sensory inputs and feed them back to early visual cortex. In V1, sensory inputs that do not match the predictions lead to amplified brain activation, but does this amplification process dynamically update to new retinotopic locations with eye-movements? We investigated the effect of eye-movements in predictive feedback using functional brain imaging and eye-tracking whilst presenting an apparent motion illusion. Apparent motion induces an internal model of motion, during which sensory predictions of the illusory motion feed back to V1. We observed attenuated BOLD responses to predicted stimuli at the new post-saccadic location in V1. Therefore, pre-saccadic predictions update their retinotopic location in time for post-saccadic input, validating dynamic predictive coding theories in V1.
When objects move or the eyes move, the visual system can predict the consequence and generate a percept of the target at its new position. This predictive localization may depend on eye movement control in the frontal eye fields (FEF) and the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and on motion analysis in the medial temporal area (MT). Across two experiments we examined whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over right FEF, right IPS, right MT, and a control site, peripheral V1/V2, diminished participants’ perception of two cases of predictive position perception: trans-saccadic fusion, and the flash grab illusion, both presented in the contralateral visual field. In trans-saccadic fusion trials, participants saccade toward a stimulus that is replaced with another stimulus during the saccade. Frequently, predictive position mechanisms lead to a fused percept of pre- and post-saccade stimuli (Paeye et al., 2017). We found that rTMS to IPS significantly decreased the frequency of perceiving trans-saccadic fusion within the first 10 min after stimulation. In the flash grab illusion, a target is flashed on a moving background leading to the percept that the target has shifted in the direction of the motion after the flash (Cavanagh and Anstis, 2013). In the first experiment, the reduction in the flash grab illusion after rTMS to IPS and FEF did not reach significance. In the second experiment, using a stronger version of the flash grab, the illusory shift did decrease significantly after rTMS to IPS although not after rTMS to FEF or to MT. These findings suggest that right IPS contributes to predictive position perception during saccades and motion processing in the contralateral visual field.
Predicting visual information facilitates efficient processing of visual signals. Higher visual areas can support the processing of incoming visual information by generating predictive models that are fed back to lower visual areas. Functional brain imaging has previously shown that predictions interact with visual input already at the level of the primary visual cortex (V1; Harrison et al., 2007; Alink et al., 2010). Given that fixation changes up to four times a second in natural viewing conditions, cortical predictions are effective in V1 only if they are fed back in time for the processing of the next stimulus and at the corresponding new retinotopic position. Here, we tested whether spatio-temporal predictions are updated before, during, or shortly after an inter-hemifield saccade is executed, and thus, whether the predictive signal is transferred swiftly across hemifields. Using an apparent motion illusion, we induced an internal motion model that is known to produce a spatio-temporal prediction signal along the apparent motion trace in V1 (Muckli et al., 2005; Alink et al., 2010). We presented participants with both visually predictable and unpredictable targets on the apparent motion trace. During the task, participants saccaded across the illusion whilst detecting the target. As found previously, predictable stimuli were detected more frequently than unpredictable stimuli. Furthermore, we found that the detection advantage of predictable targets is detectable as early as 50–100 ms after saccade offset. This result demonstrates the rapid nature of the transfer of a spatio-temporally precise predictive signal across hemifields, in a paradigm previously shown to modulate V1.