Early activation of the primary somatosensory cortex without conscious awareness of somatosensory stimuli in tumor patients

H. Preißl, H. Flor, W. Lutzenberger, F. Duffner, D. Freudenstein, E. Grote, N. Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The primary sensory cortex has usually been regarded as a necessary step in the information processing stream leading to conscious awareness. Recently, it has been proposed that that higher order associative areas rather than the primary sensory areas are the neural basis of conscious perception. In two patients with tumors near the central region we recorded magnetic somatosensory evoked fields. Magnetic source imaging revealed early (40 ms) neural activation in primary somatosensory cortex and absence of later (> 60 ms) neural activation in the primary and associative areas in these patients. None of the patients showed conscious awareness of somatosensory stimuli applied to the corresponding body site although the first component of the evoked field was within normal limits. The time course of the magnetic responses and additional evidence on intensity ratings of somatosensory stimuli suggest that early activity in the primary somatosensory cortex is not sufficient for conscious experience to emerge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-196
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume308
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 10 2001

Keywords

  • Consciousness
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Somatosensory evoked field
  • Somatosensory system
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Preißl, H., Flor, H., Lutzenberger, W., Duffner, F., Freudenstein, D., Grote, E., & Birbaumer, N. (2001). Early activation of the primary somatosensory cortex without conscious awareness of somatosensory stimuli in tumor patients. Neuroscience Letters, 308(3), 193-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3940(01)02007-9