Inter-areal interactions of neuronal oscillations may be a key mechanism in the coordination of anatomically distributed neuronal processing. In humans, invasive stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG) is emerging as a reference method for electrophysiological recordings because of its excellent spatial and temporal resolution. It could thus be also considered an optimal method for mapping neuronal inter-areal interactions. However, the common bipolar (BP) referencing of SEEG data may both confuse signals from distinct sources and suppress true neuronal interactions whereas the alternative monopolar (MP) reference yields data contaminated by volume conduction. We advance here a novel referencing scheme for SEEG data where electrodes in grey matter are referenced to closest white-matter (CW) electrodes. Using a 22 subject cohort and these three referencing schemes, we observed that both inter-areal phase and amplitude correlations decayed as function of distance and frequency but remained significant and stable across distances up to 10cm. Furthermore, we found that deep and superficial cortical laminae exhibit distinct spectral profiles of oscillation power as well as distinct patterns of inter-areal phase and amplitude interactions. These effects were qualitatively similar in MP and CW but distorted with BP referencing. Importantly CW was not influenced by the apparent large-scale volume conduction inherent to MP. We thus demonstrate here that with CW referencing, the superior anatomical accuracy of SEEG can be leveraged to yield accurate quantification and qualitatively novel insight into phase and amplitude interactions in human brain activity.
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