Beyond establishing involvement: Quantifying the contribution of anticipatory α- and β-band suppression to perceptual improvement with attention

Freek van Ede, Malte Köster, Eric Maris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Systems and cognitive neuroscience aim at understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie cognition and behavior. Many studies have revealed the involvement of many types of neural signals in diverse cognitive and behavioral phenomena. Here, we go beyond establishing such involvement and address two fundamental, yet largely unaddressed, questions: 1) exactly how much does a given neural signal contribute to a cognitive or behavioral phenomenon of interest; and 2) to what extent are distinct neural signals independently related to this phenomenon? We recorded brain activity using magnetoencephalography while human participants performed a cued somatosensory detection task. Using a novel method, we then quantified the contribution (in a predictive but not causal sense) of two well-established neural phenomena to the improvement in perception with attentional orienting. In our sample, the anticipatory suppression of extracranially recorded oscillatory α- and β-band amplitudes from contralateral primary somatosensory cortex could account for maximally 29% of the attention- induced improvement in tactile perception. In addition, although amplitude suppressions in the α- and β-frequency bands both contributed to this improvement, their contribution was largely shared. These data reveal the upper limit of the cognitive/behavioral relevance of this type of signal and show that at least 71% of the perceptual improvement with attention must be accounted for by other signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2352-2362
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Volume108
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attentional orienting
  • Behavioral relevance
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Neuronal oscillations
  • Somatosensory perception

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