Gamma flicker triggers attentional selection without awareness

Frank Bauer, Samuel W. Cheadle, Andrew Parton, Hermann J. Müller, Marius Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma band modulations in neural activity have been proposed to mediate attentional processes. To support a causal link between gamma activity and attentional selection, we attempt to evoke gamma oscillations by a 50-Hz subliminal flicker. We find that a subliminal 50-Hz flicker at a target location, before target presentation, speeds up and enhances target detection and discrimination. This effect is specific to the middle of the gamma range because it is not evident at <35-Hz flicker. It requires 300 ms to build up, dissipates within 250 ms of flicker offset, and shows a tendency to invert after 500 ms. The results are discussed in relation to a role for gamma band neural synchrony in the allocation of visual attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1666-1671
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2009


  • Gamma
  • Neural synchrony
  • Psychophysics
  • Subliminal
  • Visual attention


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