Neural Variability Quenching Predicts Individual Perceptual Abilities Academic Article uri icon


  • Neural activity during repeated presentations of a sensory stimulus exhibits considerable trial-by-trial variability. Previous studies have reported that trial-by-trial neural variability is reduced (quenched) by the presentation of a stimulus. However, the functional significance and behavioral relevance of variability quenching and the potential physiological mechanisms that may drive it have been studied only rarely. Here, we recorded neural activity with EEG as subjects performed a two-interval forced-choice contrast discrimination task. Trial-by-trial neural variability was quenched by∼ 40% after the presentation of the stimulus relative to the variability apparent before stimulus presentation, yet there were large differences in the magnitude of variability quenching across subjects. Individual magnitudes of quenching predicted individual discrimination capabilities such that subjects who …

publication date

  • January 1, 2017