The influence of prestimulus 1/f-like vs. alpha-band activity on subjective awareness of auditory and visual stimuli

Emily C. Cunningham, Clementine Zimnicki, Diane M. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Alpha rhythmic activity is often suggested to exert an inhibitory influence on information processing. However, relatively little is known about how reported alpha-related effects are influenced by a potential confounding element of the neural signal: power-law scaling. In the current study, we systematically examine the effect of accounting for 1/f activity on the relation between prestimulus alpha power and human behavior during both auditory and visual detection (N = 27, 19 female/6 male/2 nonbinary). The results suggest that, at least in the scalp-recorded EEG signal, the difference in alpha power often reported prior to visual hits vs. misses is probably best thought of as a combination of narrowband alpha and broadband shifts. That is, changes in broadband parameters (exponent and offset of 1/f-like activity) also appear to be strong predictors of the subsequent awareness of visual stimuli. Neither changes in posterior alpha power nor changes in 1/f-like activity reliably predicted detection of auditory stimuli. These results appear consistent with suggestions that broadband changes in the scalp-recorded EEG signal may account for a portion of prior results linking alpha-band dynamics to visuospatial attention and behavior, and suggest that systematic re-examination of existing data may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume43
Issue number36
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 6 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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