No changes in parieto-occipital alpha during neural phase locking to visual quasi-periodic theta-, alpha-, and beta-band stimulation

Christian Keitel, Christopher S.Y. Benwell, Gregor Thut, Joachim Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Recent studies have probed the role of the parieto-occipital alpha rhythm (8–12 Hz) in human visual perception through attempts to drive its neural generators. To that end, paradigms have used high-intensity strictly-periodic visual stimulation that created strong predictions about future stimulus occurrences and repeatedly demonstrated perceptual consequences in line with an entrainment of parieto-occipital alpha. Our study, in turn, examined the case of alpha entrainment by non-predictive low-intensity quasi-periodic visual stimulation within theta- (4–7 Hz), alpha- (8–13 Hz), and beta (14–20 Hz) frequency bands, i.e., a class of stimuli that resemble the temporal characteristics of naturally occurring visual input more closely. We have previously reported substantial neural phase-locking in EEG recording during all three stimulation conditions. Here, we studied to what extent this phase-locking reflected an entrainment of intrinsic alpha rhythms in the same dataset. Specifically, we tested whether quasi-periodic visual stimulation affected several properties of parieto-occipital alpha generators. Speaking against an entrainment of intrinsic alpha rhythms by non-predictive low-intensity quasi-periodic visual stimulation, we found none of these properties to show differences between stimulation frequency bands. In particular, alpha band generators did not show increased sensitivity to alpha band stimulation and Bayesian inference corroborated evidence against an influence of stimulation frequency. Our results set boundary conditions for when and how to expect effects of entrainment of alpha generators and suggest that the parieto-occipital alpha rhythm may be more inert to external influences than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2551-2565
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume48
Issue number7
Early online date8 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • alpha rhythm
  • entrainment
  • phase locking
  • phase synchronisation
  • visual attention

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