Low-frequency oscillations are proposed to be involved in separating neuronal representations belonging to different items. Although item-specific neuronal activity was found to cluster on different oscillatory phases, the influence of this mechanism on perception is unknown. Here, we investigated the perceptual consequences of neuronal item separation through oscillatory clustering. In an electroencephalographic experiment, participants categorized sounds parametrically varying in pitch, relative to an arbitrary pitch boundary. Pre-stimulus theta and alpha phase biased near-boundary sound categorization to one category or the other. Phase also modulated whether evoked neuronal responses contributed stronger to the fit of the sound envelope of one or another category. Intriguingly, participants with stronger oscillatory clustering (phase strongly biasing sound categorization) in the theta, but not alpha, range had steeper perceptual psychometric slopes (sharper sound category discrimination). These results indicate that neuronal sorting by phase directly influences subsequent perception and has a positive impact on discrimination performance.
- NEURAL OSCILLATIONS
- NEURONAL OSCILLATIONS