We examined the causal relationship between the phase of alpha oscillations (9–12 Hz) and conscious visual perception using rhythmic TMS (rTMS) while simultaneously recording EEG activity. rTMS of posterior parietal cortex at an alpha frequency (10 Hz), but not occipital or sham rTMS, both entrained the phase of subsequent alpha oscillatory activity and produced a phase-dependent change on subsequent visual perception, with lower discrimination accuracy for targets presented at one phase of the alpha oscillatory waveform than for targets presented at the opposite phase. By extrinsically manipulating the phase of alpha before stimulus presentation, we provide direct evidence that the neural circuitry in the parietal cortex involved with generating alpha oscillations plays a causal role in determining whether or not a visual stimulus is successfully perceived.

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