The Caveats of observing Inter-Trial Phase-Coherence in Cognitive Neuroscience.

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Many studies have now consistently reported that the phase angle of ongoing oscillatory activity (measured using EEG/MEG), at time of stimulus presentation influences detection when stimuli are near-threshold. However, studies examining whether the adjustment of the phase angle of oscillations is under top-down attentional control have thus far yielded conflicting results. A possible source for the discrepancy could be that the estimation of the phase of ongoing oscillations as well as its uniformity across trials could be affected by task induced changes in the power of oscillations or concurrent evoked responses. One measure, Inter-Trial Phase-Locking (ITPC), or the uniformity of phase angles across trials, is particularly vulnerable to these factors. Here, using various simulations modelling the common task induced changes in the EEG reported in the literature, we demonstrate that apparent changes in Inter-Trial Phase-Locking of oscillatory activity can occur independent of any actual change in the phase of the ongoing activity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018


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