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Full Access Cross-sensory cuing drives cross-frequency neural coupling, dramatically altering performance of a taxing visual-detection task

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Cross-sensory cuing drives cross-frequency neural coupling, dramatically altering performance of a taxing visual-detection task

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Functional networks are comprised of neuronal ensembles bound through synchronization across multiple intrinsic oscillatory frequencies. Various coupled interactions between brain oscillators have been described (e.g., phase–amplitude coupling), but with little evidence that these interactions actually influence perceptual sensitivity. Here, electroencephalographic recordings were made during a sustained-attention task to demonstrate that cross-frequency coupling, driven by cross-sensory cuing, has significant consequences for perceptual outcomes (i.e., whether participants detect a near-threshold visual target). Our results reveal that phase-detection relationships at higher frequencies are entirely dependent on the phase of lower frequencies, such that higher frequencies alternate between periods when their phase is strongly predictive of visual-target detection and periods when their phase has no influence whatsoever. These data thus bridge the crucial gap between complex oscillatory phenomena and perceptual outcomes. Accounting for cross-frequency coupling between lower (i.e., delta and theta) and higher frequencies (e.g., beta and gamma), we show that visual-target detection fluctuates dramatically as a function of pre-stimulus phase, with performance swings of as much as 80%.

Affiliations: 1: The Sheryl & Daniel R. Tishman Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Departments of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, US

Functional networks are comprised of neuronal ensembles bound through synchronization across multiple intrinsic oscillatory frequencies. Various coupled interactions between brain oscillators have been described (e.g., phase–amplitude coupling), but with little evidence that these interactions actually influence perceptual sensitivity. Here, electroencephalographic recordings were made during a sustained-attention task to demonstrate that cross-frequency coupling, driven by cross-sensory cuing, has significant consequences for perceptual outcomes (i.e., whether participants detect a near-threshold visual target). Our results reveal that phase-detection relationships at higher frequencies are entirely dependent on the phase of lower frequencies, such that higher frequencies alternate between periods when their phase is strongly predictive of visual-target detection and periods when their phase has no influence whatsoever. These data thus bridge the crucial gap between complex oscillatory phenomena and perceptual outcomes. Accounting for cross-frequency coupling between lower (i.e., delta and theta) and higher frequencies (e.g., beta and gamma), we show that visual-target detection fluctuates dramatically as a function of pre-stimulus phase, with performance swings of as much as 80%.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x646839
2012-01-01
2016-12-10

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