A unifying principle underlying the extracellular field potential spectral responses in the human cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2015 Jul;114(1):505-19. doi: 10.1152/jn.00943.2014. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


Electrophysiological mass potentials show complex spectral changes upon neuronal activation. However, it is unknown to what extent these complex band-limited changes are interrelated or, alternatively, reflect separate neuronal processes. To address this question, intracranial electrocorticograms (ECoG) responses were recorded in patients engaged in visuomotor tasks. We found that in the 10- to 100-Hz frequency range there was a significant reduction in the exponent χ of the 1/f(χ) component of the spectrum associated with neuronal activation. In a minority of electrodes showing particularly high activations the exponent reduction was associated with specific band-limited power modulations: emergence of a high gamma (80-100 Hz) and a decrease in the alpha (9-12 Hz) peaks. Importantly, the peaks' height was correlated with the 1/f(χ) exponent on activation. Control simulation ruled out the possibility that the change in 1/f(χ) exponent was a consequence of the analysis procedure. These results reveal a new global, cross-frequency (10-100 Hz) neuronal process reflected in a significant reduction of the power spectrum slope of the ECoG signal.

Keywords: 1/f; ECoG; electrophysiology; narrow-band gamma; power spectrum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Female
  • Gamma Rhythm
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Visual Perception / physiology*