The response relevance of visual stimuli modulates the P3 component and the underlying sensorimotor network.

Affiliation

Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland. [Email]

Abstract

The functional meaning and neural basis of the P3b component of ERPs are still under debate. One of the main issues is whether P3b reflects only stimulus-related processes (stimulus evaluation hypothesis) or response-related processes as well (stimulus-response or S-R link activation hypothesis). Here, we conducted an EEG experiment examining whether P3b may indeed reflect an S-R link activation, followed by an fMRI experiment in which we explored the brain areas and functional connectivity possibly constituting the neural basis of these sensorimotor links. In both experiments, two successive visual stimuli, S1 and S2, were presented with a 1 sec interval, and responses were defined either by S1 or S2, while participants responded only after S2 onset. The obtained EEG results suggest that P3b may be interpreted in terms of the S-R link activation account, although further studies are needed to disentangle P3-related activity from overlapping anticipatory activity. The obtained fMRI results showed that processing of the relevant S1 involved activation of a distributed postero-anterior sensorimotor network, and increased strength of functional connectivity within this network. This network may underlie activation of the S-R links, thus possibly also the P3b component, forming a bridging step between sensory encoding and response execution.

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