Direct electrical stimulation of human cortex evokes high gamma activity that predicts conscious somatosensory perception

J Neural Eng. 2018 Apr;15(2):026015. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa9bf9.


Objective: Direct electrical stimulation (DES) is a clinical gold standard for human brain mapping and readily evokes conscious percepts, yet the neurophysiological changes underlying these percepts are not well understood.

Approach: To determine the neural correlates of DES, we stimulated the somatosensory cortex of ten human participants at frequency-amplitude combinations that both elicited and failed to elicit conscious percepts, meanwhile recording neural activity directly surrounding the stimulation site. We then compared the neural activity of perceived trials to that of non-perceived trials.

Main results: We found that stimulation evokes distributed high gamma activity, which correlates with conscious perception better than stimulation parameters themselves.

Significance: Our findings suggest that high gamma activity is a reliable biomarker for perception evoked by both natural and electrical stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Gamma Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult