Neural Signatures of Actively Controlled Self-Motion and the Subjective Encoding of Distance
Navigating through an environment requires knowledge about one’s direction of self-motion (heading) and traveled distance. Behavioral studies showed that human participants can actively reproduce a previously observed travel distance purely based on visual information. Here, we employed electroencep...
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|Navigating through an environment requires knowledge about one’s direction of self-motion (heading) and traveled distance. Behavioral studies showed that human participants can actively reproduce a previously observed travel distance purely based on visual information. Here, we employed electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the underlying neural processes. We measured, in human observers, event-related potentials (ERPs) during visually simulated straight-forward self-motion across a ground plane. The participants’ task was to reproduce (active condition) double the distance of a previously seen self-displacement (passive condition) using a gamepad. We recorded the trajectories of self-motion during the active condition and played it back to the participants in a third set of trials (replay condition). We analyzed EEG activity separately for four electrode clusters: frontal (F), central (C), parietal (P), and occipital (O). When aligned to self-motion onset or offset, response modulation of the ERPs was stronger, and several ERP components had different latencies in the passive as compared with the active condition. This result is in line with the concept of predictive coding, which implies modified neural activation for self-induced versus externally induced sensory stimulation. We aligned our data also to the times when subjects passed the (objective) single distance d_obj and the (subjective) single distance d_sub. Remarkably, wavelet-based temporal-frequency analyses revealed enhanced theta-band activation for F, P, and O-clusters shortly before passing d_sub. This enhanced activation could be indicative of a navigation related representation of subjective distance. More generally, our study design allows to investigate subjective perception without interfering neural activation because of the required response action.
|Gefördert durch den Open-Access-Publikationsfonds der UB Marburg.