Neural dynamics during repetitive visual stimulation
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SourceJournal of Neural Engineering, 12, 6, (2015), article 066017
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC KI
Journal of Neural Engineering
SubjectCognitive artificial intelligence; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 4: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication
Objective. Steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs), the brain responses to repetitive visual stimulation (RVS), are widely utilized in neuroscience. Their high signal-to-noise ratio and ability to entrain oscillatory brain activity are beneficial for their applications in brain-computer interfaces, investigation of neural processes underlying brain rhythmic activity (steady-state topography) and probing the causal role of brain rhythms in cognition and emotion. This paper aims at analyzing the space and time EEG dynamics in response to RVS at the frequency of stimulation and ongoing rhythms in the delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma bands. Approach. We used electroencephalography (EEG) to study the oscillatory brain dynamics during RVS at 10 frequencies in the gamma band (40–60 Hz). We collected an extensive EEG data set from 32 participants and analyzed the RVS evoked and induced responses in the time-frequency domain. Main results. Stable SSVEP over parieto-occipital sites was observed at each of the fundamental frequencies and their harmonics and sub-harmonics. Both the strength and the spatial propagation of the SSVEP response seem sensitive to stimulus frequency. The SSVEP was more localized around the parieto-occipital sites for higher frequencies (>54 Hz) and spread to fronto-central locations for lower frequencies. We observed a strong negative correlation between stimulation frequency and relative power change at that frequency, the first harmonic and the sub-harmonic components over occipital sites. Interestingly, over parietal sites for sub-harmonics a positive correlation of relative power change and stimulation frequency was found. A number of distinct patterns in delta (1–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz) and beta (15–30 Hz) bands were also observed. The transient response, from 0 to about 300 ms after stimulation onset, was accompanied by increase in delta and theta power over fronto-central and occipital sites, which returned to baseline after approx. 500 ms. During the steady-state response, we observed alpha band desynchronization over occipital sites and after 500 ms also over frontal sites, while neighboring areas synchronized. The power in beta band over occipital sites increased during the stimulation period, possibly caused by increase in power at sub-harmonic frequencies of stimulation. Gamma power was also enhanced by the stimulation. Significance. These findings have direct implications on the use of RVS and SSVEPs for neural process investigation through steady-state topography, controlled entrainment of brain oscillations and BCIs. A deep understanding of SSVEP propagation in time and space and the link with ongoing brain rhythms is crucial for optimizing the typical SSVEP applications for studying, assisting, or augmenting human cognitive and sensorimotor function.
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