Studies indicate that conscious perception is related to changes in neural activity within a time window that varies between 130 and 320 msec after stimulus presentation, yet it is not known whether such neural correlates of conscious perception are stable across time. Here, we examined the generalization across time within individuals and across different individuals. We trained classification algorithms to decode conscious perception from neural activity recorded during binocular rivalry using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The classifiers were then used to predict the perception of the same participants during different recording sessions either days or years later as well as between different participants. No drop in decoding accuracy was observed when decoding across years compared with days, whereas a large drop in decoding accuracy was found for between-participant decoding. Furthermore, underlying percept-specific MEG signals remained stable in terms of latency, amplitude, and sources within participants across years, whereas differences were found in all of these domains between individuals. Our findings demonstrate that the neural correlates of conscious perception are stable across years for adults, but differ across individuals. Moreover, the study validates decoding based on MEG data as a method for further studies of correlations between individual differences in perceptual contents and between-participant decoding accuracies.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (online), 2014, Vol 26, Issue 4, p. 840-853