Pre- and poststimulus alpha rhythms are related to conscious visual perception: a high-resolution EEG study

Cereb Cortex. 2006 Dec;16(12):1690-700. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhj104. Epub 2005 Dec 28.


Conscious and unconscious visuospatial processes have been related to parietooccipital cortical activation as revealed by late visual-evoked potentials. Here the working hypothesis was that a specific pattern of pre- and poststimulus theta (about 4-6 Hz) and alpha (about 6-12 Hz) rhythms is differently represented during conscious compared with unconscious visuospatial processes. Electroencephalographic (EEG) data (128 channels) were recorded in normal adults during a visuospatial task. A cue stimulus appeared at the right or left (equal probability) monitor side for a "threshold time" inducing about 50% of correct recognitions. It was followed (2 s) by visual go stimuli at spatially congruent or incongruent position with reference to the cue location. Left (right) mouse button was clicked if the go stimulus appeared at the left (right) monitor side. Then, subjects said "seen" if they had detected the cue stimulus or "not seen" if missed (self-report). Sources of theta and alpha rhythms during seen and not seen EEG epochs were estimated by low-resolution electromagnetic brain topography software. Results showed that the prestimulus "low-band" (about 6-10 Hz) alpha rhythms in frontal, parietal, and occipital areas were stronger in power in the seen than in the not seen trials. After the visual stimulation, the power of the "high-band" (about 10-12 Hz) alpha rhythms in parietal and occipital areas decreased more in the seen than in the not seen trials. The present results suggest that visuospatial consciousness covary--presumably with a facilitatory effect--with the power of both pre- and poststimulus alpha rhythms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm*
  • Animals
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*