Perception results from complex interactions among sensory and cognitive processes across hierarchical levels in the brain. Intermodulation (IM) components, used in frequency tagging neuroimaging designs, have emerged as a promising direct measure of such neural interactions. IMs have initially been used in electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate low-level visual processing. In a more recent trend, IMs in EEG and other neuroimaging methods are being used to shed light on mechanisms of mid- and high-level perceptual processes, including the involvement of cognitive functions such as attention and expectation. Here, we provide an account of various mechanisms that may give rise to IMs in neuroimaging data, and what these IMs may look like. We discuss methodologies that can be implemented for different uses of IMs and we demonstrate how IMs can provide insights into the existence, the degree and the type of neural integration mechanisms at hand. We then review a range of recent studies exploiting IMs in visual perception research, placing an emphasis on high-level vision and the influence of awareness and cognition on visual processing. We conclude by suggesting future directions that can enhance the benefits of IM-methodology in perception research.
- Frequency tagging
- Intermodulation (IM) components
- Neural interactions
- Signal integration