Long-lasting modulation of feature integration by transcranial magnetic stimulation

Frank Scharnowski, Johannes Rüter, Jacob Jolij, Frouke Hermens, Thomas Kammer, Michael H Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The human brain analyzes a visual object first by basic feature detectors. On the objects way to a conscious percept, these features are integrated in subsequent stages of the visual hierarchy. The time course of this feature integration is largely unknown. To shed light on the temporal dynamics of feature integration, we applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to a feature fusion paradigm. In feature fusion, two stimuli which differ in one feature are presented in rapid succession such that they are not perceived individually but as one single stimulus only. The fused percept is an integration of the features of both stimuli. Here, we show that TMS can modulate this integration for a surprisingly long period of time, even though the individual stimuli themselves are not consciously perceived. Hence, our results reveal a long-lasting integration process of unconscious feature traces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1.1-10
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Consciousness
  • Discrimination (Psychology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe/physiology
  • Photic Stimulation/methods
  • Reaction Time
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Visual Perception/physiology
  • Young Adult


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