Evidence for increased internal noise in migraineurs for contrast and shape processing

K.E. Webster, Jan Dickinson, J. Battista, A.M. Mckendrick, David Badcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Increased contrast-level dependent internal noise has been reported in migraine. This study aimed to investigate whether a general increase in internal noise impacted on other tasks thought to assess functioning in cortical area V1and was evident in global contour coding (V4).Methods: Eleven migraineurs (six with aura) and 12 headache-free controls completed three psychophysical tasks: (i) contrast detection, (ii) discrimination of the angle of a spiral path and (iii) detection of deformation from circularity. Internal noise estimates were obtained using an N-pass method that compared responses to repeated presentations of identical stimuli. Internal noise results in inconsistent responses across different runs.Results: Migraineurs had significantly higher contrast thresholds when there was high external luminance noise. There were no other significant group differences in thresholds. Increased multiplicative noise associated with contrast processing was replicated and increased additive noise, which is independent of the visual input, was found for the global form task.Conclusions: This study provides further evidence for increased multiplicative internal noise associated with contrast processing in migraineurs. However there is no generalised increase in internal noise in V1 as noise estimates for angular discrimination were normal. Increased additive internal noise was associated with the global shape task, co-occurring with increased efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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