The effect of the phase of prestimulus alpha activity on the averaged visual evoked response

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. Jul-Aug 1991;80(4):241-50. doi: 10.1016/0168-5597(91)90107-9.


The relationship between the latencies and amplitudes of the N1 and P2 components of the averaged visual evoked potential (EP) and the phase of the alpha activity immediately preceding the time of the stimulus, has been investigated in 7 male subjects. Low intensity flashes, delivered randomly between 2 and 6 whole seconds, were used as the stimuli. The phase angle of the EEG at the moment of stimulation was computed for all trials containing more than 100 microV2 of prestimulus alpha power. The single trials were grouped into 8 classes on the basis of the phase angle value, and averaged EPs for each individual were computed from these groups. In addition, averaged EPs were computed in 3 ways: (1) a grand average consisting of all artifact-free trials, (2) an 'alpha average' consisting of all trials containing more than 100 microV2 of prestimulus alpha power, and (3) a 'non-alpha average' consisting of all trials with less than 100 microV2 of prestimulus alpha power. Each of these 3 averages were cross-correlated with the phase-selective averages. It was found that the particular N1 component assessed in this experiment may possibly be entrained alpha activity, and that the measured P2 component is not an alpha process, yet it is influenced by the amount of prestimulus alpha activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values