Although conscious perception is a fundamental cognitive function, its neural correlates remain unclear. It remains debatable whether thalamocortical interactions play a decisive role in conscious perception. To clarify this, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) where flickering red and green visual cues could be perceived either as a non-fused colour or fused colour. Here we show significantly differentiated fMRI neurodynamics only in higher-order thalamocortical regions, compared with first-order thalamocortical regions. Anticorrelated neurodynamic behaviours were observed between the visual stream network and default-mode network. Its dynamic causal modelling consistently provided compelling evidence for the involvement of higher-order thalamocortical iterative integration during conscious perception of fused colour, while inhibitory control was revealed during the non-fusion condition. Taken together with our recent magnetoencephalography study, our fMRI findings corroborate a thalamocortical inhibitory model for consciousness, where both thalamic inhibitory regulation and integrative signal iterations across higher-order thalamocortical regions are essential for conscious perception.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Peter Zeidman, Dr. Hae-Jeong Park, and Dr. Huijin Song for their valuable comments and analytic discussion. We are also thankful to Eul-Seok Hong and Jechoon Park for their kind assistance during the data acquisition and analysis. This work was supported by the Convergent Technology R&D Program for Human Augmentation (grant number 2020M3C1B8081319 to B.-K.M.), which is funded by the Korean government through the National Research Foundation of Korea. The authors declare no competing interests.
- Conscious perception
- Default-mode network
- Illusory colour
- Thalamic reticular nucleus
- Thalamocortical inhibitory network
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience