Simon task M/EEG data
Date of Archiving2020
Radboud Data Repository
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Key wordstheta; EEG; MEG
Theta-band (∼6 Hz) rhythmic activity within and over the medial prefrontal cortex (“midfrontal theta”) has been identified as a distinctive signature of “response conflict,” the competition between multiple actions when only one action is goal-relevant. Midfrontal theta is traditionally conceptualized and analyzed under the assumption that it is a unitary signature of conflict that can be uniquely identified at one electrode (typically FCz). Here we recorded simultaneous MEG and EEG (total of 328 sensors) in nine human subjects (7 female) and applied a feature-guided multivariate source-separation decomposition to determine whether conflict-related midfrontal theta is a unitary or multidimensional feature of the data. For each subject, a generalized eigendecomposition (GED) yielded spatial filters (components) that maximized the ratio between theta and broadband activity. Components were retained based on significance thresholding and midfrontal EEG topography. All of the subjects individually exhibited multiple (mean 5.89, SD 2.47) midfrontal components that contributed to sensor-level midfrontal theta power during the task. Component signals were temporally uncorrelated and asynchronous, suggesting that each midfrontal theta component was unique. Our findings call into question the dominant notion that midfrontal theta represents a unitary process. Instead, we suggest that midfrontal theta spans a multidimensional space, indicating multiple origins, but can manifest as a single feature at the sensor level due to signal mixing.Analysis code accompanying this publication/dataset will be made available at https://github.com/marrit-git/MEEG-multiple-theta-sources.