Visual and auditory perceptual rivalry in migraine

Allison M McKendrick, Josephine Battista, Joel S Snyder, Olivia L Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Recent evidence demonstrates that perceptual rivalry rate can be modulated by perturbation of the serotonergic system. Specifically, pharmacologically lowering the availability of serotonin results in slower rivalry rates. As it has been suggested that brain serotonin is low during the interictal phase of migraine, we hypothesized that perceptual rivalry rates would be reduced in individuals with migraine.

METHODS: Visual and auditory perceptual rivalry measures were obtained for a group of 30 participants with migraine (15 migraine with aura, 15 migraine without aura) and 20 non-headache control individuals.

RESULTS: Our experiments reveal fewer perceptual rivalry switches within both visual and auditory domains for our migraine without aura group, while the with-aura group performed similarly to non-headache controls. Dividing the data by headache frequency rather than headache subtype classification revealed fewer perceptual switches in those with more frequent headaches.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data provides further support for interictal differences in brain sensory reactivity in migraine, with the observed effects being in the same direction as those caused by pharmacologically reducing brain availability of serotonin in normal observers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-69
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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