Frontal and parietal alpha oscillations reflect attentional modulation of cross-modal matching

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 22;9(1):5030. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41636-w.


Multisensory perception is shaped by both attentional selection of relevant sensory inputs and exploitation of stimulus-driven factors that promote cross-modal binding. Underlying mechanisms of both top-down and bottom-up modulations have been linked to changes in alpha/gamma dynamics in primary sensory cortices and temporoparietal cortex. Accordingly, it has been proposed that alpha oscillations provide pulsed inhibition for gamma activity and thereby dynamically route cortical information flow. In this study, we employed a recently introduced multisensory paradigm incorporating both bottom-up and top-down aspects of cross-modal attention in an EEG study. The same trimodal stimuli were presented in two distinct attentional conditions, focused on visual-tactile or audio-visual components, for which cross-modal congruence of amplitude changes had to be evaluated. Neither top-down nor bottom-up cross-modal attention modulated alpha or gamma power in primary sensory cortices. Instead, we found alpha band effects in bilateral frontal and right parietal cortex. We propose that frontal alpha oscillations reflect the origin of top-down control regulating perceptual gains and that modulations of parietal alpha oscillations relates to intersensory re-orienting. Taken together, we suggest that the idea of selective cortical routing via alpha oscillations can be extended from sensory cortices to the frontoparietal attention network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Alpha Rhythm / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult