Oscillatory brain activity during multisensory attention reflects activation, disinhibition, and cognitive control

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 8;6:32775. doi: 10.1038/srep32775.


In this study, we used a novel multisensory attention paradigm to investigate attention-modulated cortical oscillations over a wide range of frequencies using magnetencephalography in healthy human participants. By employing a task that required the evaluation of the congruence of audio-visual stimuli, we promoted the formation of widespread cortical networks including early sensory cortices as well as regions associated with cognitive control. We found that attention led to increased high-frequency gamma-band activity and decreased lower frequency theta-, alpha-, and beta-band activity in early sensory cortex areas. Moreover, alpha-band coherence decreased in visual cortex. Frontal cortex was found to exert attentional control through increased low-frequency phase synchronisation. Crossmodal congruence modulated beta-band coherence in mid-cingulate and superior temporal cortex. Together, these results offer an integrative view on the concurrence of oscillations at different frequencies during multisensory attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nontherapeutic Human Experimentation
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology