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2007 | 3 | 1-2 | 41-55

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Binding binding: Departure points for a different version of the perceptual retouch theory


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In the perceptual retouch theory, masking and related microgenetic phenomena were explained as a result of interaction between specific cortical representational systems and the non-specific sub-cortical modulation system. Masking appears as deprivation of sufficient modulation of the consciousness mechanism suffered by the target-specific signals because of the temporal delay of non-specific modulation (necessary for conscious representation), which explicates the later-coming mask information instead of the already decayed target information. The core of the model envisaged relative magnitudes of EPSPs of single cortical cells driven by target and mask signals at the moment when the nonspecific, presynaptic, excitatory input arrives from the thalamus. In the light of the current evidence about the importance of synchronised activity of specific and non-specific systems in generating consciousness, the retouch theory requires perhaps a different view. This article presents some premises for modification of the retouch theory, where instead of the cumulative presynaptic spike activities and EPSPs of single cells, the oscillatory activity in the gamma range of the participating systems is considered and shown to be consistent with the basic ideas of the retouch theory. In this conceptualisation, O-binding refers to specific encoding which is based on gamma-band synchronised oscillations in the activity of specific cortical sensory modules that represent features and objects; C-binding refers to the gamma-band oscillations in the activity of the non-specific thalamic systems, which is necessary for the O-binding based data to become consciously experienced.








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  • Department of Psychology and Institute of Law, University of Tartu


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