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One theory of visual awareness proposes that electrophysiological activity related to awareness occurs in primary visual areas approximately 200 ms after stimulus onset (visual awareness negativity: VAN) and in fronto-parietal areas about 300 ms after stimulus onset (late positivity: LP). Although similar processes might be involved in auditory awareness, only sparse evidence exists for this idea. In the present study, we recorded electrophysiological activity while subjects listened to tones that were presented at their own awareness threshold. The difference in electrophysiological activity elicited by tones that subjects reported being aware of versus unaware of showed an early negativity about 200 ms and a late positivity about 300 ms after stimulus onset. These results closely match those found in vision and provide convincing evidence for an early negativity (auditory awareness negativity: AAN), as well as an LP. These findings suggest that theories of visual awareness are also applicable to auditory awareness.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Consciousness and cognition
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