Curr Biol 2021 May 7. Epub 2021 May 7.
Department of Psychiatry, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Berlin Institute of Health, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Max Delbrück Center, 10178 Berlin, Germany; Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10099 Berlin, Germany; Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
In the search for the neural correlates of consciousness, it has remained controversial whether prefrontal cortex determines what is consciously experienced or, alternatively, serves only complementary functions, such as introspection or action. Here, we provide converging evidence from computational modeling and two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments that indicated a key role of inferior frontal cortex in detecting perceptual conflicts caused by ambiguous sensory information. Crucially, the detection of perceptual conflicts by prefrontal cortex turned out to be critical in the process of transforming ambiguous sensory information into unambiguous conscious experiences: in a third experiment, disruption of neural activity in inferior frontal cortex through transcranial magnetic stimulation slowed down the updating of conscious experience that occurs in response to perceptual conflicts. Read More