Temporal dynamics of normalization reweighting

Daniel Hart Baker, Daniela Marinova, Richard Aveyard, Lydia Hargreaves, Alice Renton, Ruby Castellani, Phoebe Hall, Miriam Harmens, Georgia Holroyd, Beth Nicholson, Emily Williams, Hannah Hobson, Alex Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For decades, neural suppression in early visual cortex has been thought to be fixed. But recent work has challenged this assumption by showing that suppression can be reweighted based on recent history; when pairs of stimuli are repeatedly presented together, suppression between them strengthens. Here we investigate the temporal dynamics of this process using a steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) paradigm that provides a time-resolved, direct index of suppression between pairs of stimuli flickering at different frequencies (5 and 7 Hz). Our initial analysis of an existing electroencephalography (EEG) dataset (N = 100) indicated that suppression increases substantially during the first 2–5 seconds of stimulus presentation (with some variation across stimulation frequency). We then collected new EEG data (N = 100) replicating this finding for both monocular and dichoptic mask arrangements in a preregistered study designed to measure reweighting. A third experiment (N = 20) used source-localized magnetoencephalography and found that these effects are apparent in primary visual cortex (V1), consistent with results from neurophysiological work. Because long-standing theories propose inhibition/excitation differences in autism, we also compared reweighting between individuals with high versus low autistic traits, and with and without an autism diagnosis, across our three datasets (total N = 220). We find no compelling differences in reweighting that are associated with autism. Our results support the normalization reweighting model and indicate that for prolonged stimulation, increases in suppression occur on the order of 2–5 seconds after stimulus onset.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

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