Frequency-band coupling in surface EEG reflects spiking activity in monkey visual cortex

Neuron. 2009 Oct 29;64(2):281-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.08.016.


Although the electroencephalogram (EEG) is widely used in research and clinical settings, its link to the underlying neural activity during sensory processing remains poorly understood. To investigate this, we made simultaneous recordings of surface EEG, intracortical local field potential, and multiunit activity (MUA) in the alert monkey visual cortex during presentation of natural movies. Using a general linear model, we show that in single trials, EEG power in the gamma band (30-100 Hz) and phase in delta band (2-4 Hz) are significant predictors of the MUA response. Specifically, we found that the MUA response was strongest only when increases in EEG gamma power occurred during the negative-going phase of the delta wave, thus revealing a frequency-band coupling mechanism that can be exploited to infer population spiking activity. This finding may open up a new dimension in the use and interpretation of EEG in normal and pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Linear Models
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Wakefulness