Sounds reset rhythms of visual cortex and corresponding human visual perception

Romei, V. , Gross, J. and Thut, G. (2012) Sounds reset rhythms of visual cortex and corresponding human visual perception. Current Biology, 22(9), pp. 807-813. (doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.03.025) (PMID:22503499) (PMCID:PMC3368263)

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An event in one sensory modality can phase reset brain oscillations concerning another modality [1-5]. In principle, this may result in stimulus-locked periodicity in behavioral performance [6]. Here we considered this possible cross-modal impact of a sound for one of the best-characterized rhythms arising from the visual system, namely occipital alpha-oscillations (8-14 Hz) [7-9]. We presented brief sounds and concurrently recorded electroencephalography (EEG) and/or probed visual cortex excitability (phosphene perception) through occipital transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In a first, TMS-only experiment, phosphene perception rate against time postsound showed a periodic pattern cycling at ∼10 Hz phase-aligned to the sound. In a second, combined TMS-EEG experiment, TMS-trials reproduced the cyclical phosphene pattern and revealed a ∼10 Hz pattern also for EEG-derived measures of occipital cortex reactivity to the TMS pulses. Crucially, EEG-data from intermingled trials without TMS established cross-modal phase-locking of occipitoparietal alpha oscillations. These independently recorded variables, i.e., occipital cortex excitability and reactivity and EEG phase dynamics, were significantly correlated. This shows that cross-modal phase locking of oscillatory visual cortex activity can arise in the human brain to affect perceptual and EEG measures of visual processing in a cyclical manner, consistent with occipital alpha oscillations underlying a rapid cycling of neural excitability in visual areas.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thut, Professor Gregor and Gross, Professor Joachim and Romei, Dr Vincenzo
Authors: Romei, V., Gross, J., and Thut, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Current Biology
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN (Online):1879-0445
Published Online:12 April 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Current Biology 22(9): 807-813
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
547681Modifying Brain Oscillations to Drive PerceptionGregor ThutBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/I006494/1Cognitive Neuroimaging & Neuroengineering Technologies
468371Investigating neural communication with multivariate autoregressive modelsJoachim GrossWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)084067/Z/07/ZCognitive Neuroimaging & Neuroengineering Technologies
536511Neural mechanisms of sensory awarenessJoachim GrossWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)091928/Z/10/ZInstitute of Neuroscience and Psychology