Stimulation along the anterior-posterior axis of lateral frontal cortex reduces visual serial dependence

Daniel P. Bliss, Dobromir Rahnev, Wayne E. Mackey, Clayton E. Curtis, Mark D’Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serial dependence is an attractive pull that recent perceptual history exerts on current judgments. Theory suggests that this bias is due to a form of short-term plasticity prevalent specifically in the frontal lobe.We sought to test the importance of the frontal lobe to serial dependence by disrupting neural activity along its lateral surface during two tasks with distinct perceptual and motor demands. In our first experiment, stimulation of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) during an oculomotor delayed response task decreased serial dependence only in the first saccade to the target, whereas stimulation posterior to the LPFC decreased serial dependence only in adjustments to eye position after the first saccade. In our second experiment, which used an orientation discrimination task, stimulation anterior to, in, and posterior to the LPFC all caused equivalent decreases in serial dependence. In this experiment, serial dependence occurred only between stimuli at the same location; an alternation bias was observed across hemifields. Frontal stimulation had no effect on the alternation bias. Transcranial magnetic stimulation to parietal cortex had no effect on serial dependence in either experiment. In summary, our experiments provide evidence for both functional differentiation (Experiment 1) and redundancy (Experiment 2) in frontal cortex with respect to serial dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • decision making
  • frontal cortex
  • parietal cortex
  • serial dependence
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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