Directed information flow: a model free measure to analyze causal interactions in event related EEG-MEG-experiments

Hum Brain Mapp. 2008 Feb;29(2):193-206. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20382.


In a study that combined event related potential (ERP) and magnetic field (ERMF) data, we analyzed the timing and direction of information flow between striate (S) and extrastriate (ES) cortex by applying a generalized mutual information measure (DIT for "directed information transfer") during a visual spatial attention task. ERP and ERMF recordings showed that selective attention to stimulus arrays in one visual field enhanced late responses (around 200 ms after the stimulus presentation) that were localized in S (ERMF) and ES (ERP) cortex. The results of the DIT analysis indicate there is a significant attention related increase in the flow of information back from ES to S cortex at around 220 ms, with an associated decrease in the flow of information forward from S cortex to ES cortex. These results support the hypothesis that a feedback mechanism guides attention-related processing in primary visual cortex and provide evidence that DIT can by used to evaluate the direction of information flow between cortical areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation