Oscillatory sensory selection mechanisms during intersensory attention to rhythmic auditory and visual inputs: A human electrocorticographic investigation

Manuel Gomez-Ramirez, Simon P. Kelly, Sophie Molholm, Pejman Sehatpour, Theodore H. Schwartz, John J. Foxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Scopus citations


Oscillatory entrainment mechanisms are invoked during attentional processing of rhythmically occurring stimuli, whereby their phase alignment regulates the excitability state of neurons coding for anticipated inputs. These mechanisms have been examined in the delta band (1-3 Hz), where entrainment frequency matches the stimulation rate. Here, we investigated entrainment for subdelta rhythmic stimulation, recording from intracranial electrodes over human auditory cortex during an intersensory audiovisual task. Audiovisual stimuli were presented at 0.67 Hz while participants detected targets within one sensory stream and ignored the other. It was found that entrainment operated at twice the stimulation rate (1.33 Hz), and this was reflected by higher amplitude values in the FFT spectrum, cyclic modulation of alpha-amplitude, and phase-amplitude coupling between delta phase and alpha power. In addition, we found that alpha-amplitude was relatively increased in auditory cortex coincident with to-be-ignored auditory stimuli during attention to vision. Thus, the data suggest that entrainment mechanisms operate within a delimited passband such that for subdelta task rhythms, oscillatory harmonics are invoked. The phase of these delta-entrained oscillations modulates alpha-band power. This may in turn increase or decrease responsiveness to relevant and irrelevant stimuli, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18556-18567
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 14 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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