EEG amplitude spectra before near threshold visual presentations differentially predict detection/omission and short-long reaction time outcomes

Int J Psychophysiol. 2013 Jul;89(1):88-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2013.05.016. Epub 2013 Jun 5.


Performance in simple stimulus detection manifests as both probability of detection and speed of signaling detected stimuli. These two dimensions of performance across trials were examined with respect to brain states just prior to stimulus delivery, using near threshold stimuli targeting the magnocellular or the parvocellular visual streams in an attempt to isolate differential perceptual preparation. The EEG amplitude of 12 university students was analyzed in spectral bands from 2 to 50 Hz at 9 bilateral channel pairs in a window covering -450 ms to +50 ms relative to stimulus onset. A hierarchical statistical procedure was applied to control false positive results. EEG power in the 2, 4, 8 and 10 Hz bands was found significantly lower at the F7-F8 channel pair both before detected compared to omitted stimuli and before the fastest compared to slowest reaction time quartiles, with no stimulus type effect. In addition, the 22 and 24 Hz band activity was lower prior to better performance frontally (F3-F4, F7-F8) in reaction time but not in detection, while it was larger centro-parietally (CP1-CP2, P3-P4) in detection but not in reaction times. Spectral analysis thus shows stimulus detection and response speed to depend partly on common and partly on distinct pre-stimulus brain states.

Keywords: Beta; Delta; Omissions; Pre-stimulus; Simple-reaction-time; Spectral; Theta; Top–down.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticipation, Psychological / physiology
  • Basal Nucleus of Meynert / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Differential Threshold
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Software
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult