- NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine impairs feature integration in visual perception
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 11
- Article number
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Recurrent interactions between neurons in the visual cortex are crucial for the integration of image elements into coherent objects, such as in figure-ground segregation of textured images. Blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in monkeys can abolish neural signals related to figure-ground segregation and feature integration. However, it is unknown whether this also affects perceptual integration itself. Therefore, we tested whether ketamine, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, reduces feature integration in humans. We administered a subanesthetic dose of ketamine to healthy subjects who performed a texture discrimination task in a placebo-controlled double blind within-subject design. We found that ketamine significantly impaired performance on the texture discrimination task compared to the placebo condition, while performance on a control fixation task was much less impaired. This effect is not merely due to task difficulty or a difference in sedation levels. We are the first to show a behavioral effect on feature integration by manipulating the NMDA receptor in humans.
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