The relationship between negative BOLD responses and ERS and ERD of alpha/beta oscillations in visual and motor cortex

Ross Wilson, Karen Mullinger, Susan Francis, Stephen Mayhew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Previous work has investigated the electrophysiological origins of the intra-modal (within the stimulated sensory cortex) negative BOLD fMRI response (NBR, decrease from baseline) but little attention has been paid to the origin of cross-modal NBRs, those in a different sensory cortex. In the current study we use simultaneous EEG-fMRI recordings to assess the neural correlates of both intra- and cross-modal responses to left-hemifield visual stimuli and right-hand motor tasks, and evaluate the balance of activation and deactivation between the visual and motor systems. Within- and between-subject covariations of EEG and fMRI responses to both tasks are assessed to determine how patterns of event-related desynchronization/synchronisation (ERD/ERS) of alpha/beta frequency oscillations relate to the NBR in the two sensory cortices.

We show that both visual and motor tasks induce intra-modal NBR and cross-modal NBR (e.g. visual stimuli evoked NBRs in both visual and motor cortices). In the EEG data, bilateral intra-modal alpha/beta ERD were consistently observed to both tasks, whilst the cross-modal EEG response varied across subjects between alpha/beta ERD and ERS. Both the mean cross-modal EEG and fMRI response amplitudes showed a small increase in magnitude with increasing task intensity.

In response to the visual stimuli, subjects displaying cross-modal ERS of motor beta power displayed a significantly larger magnitude of cross-modal NBR in motor cortex. However, in contrast to the motor stimuli, larger cross-modal ERD of visual alpha power was associated with larger cross-modal visual NBR. Single-trial correlation analysis provided further evidence of relationship between EEG signals and the NBR, motor cortex beta responses to motor tasks were significantly negatively correlated with cross-modal visual cortex NBR amplitude, and positively correlated with intra-modal motor cortex PBR.

This study provides a new body of evidence that the coupling between BOLD and low-frequency (alpha/beta) sensory cortex EEG responses extends to cross-modal NBR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-650
Number of pages16
Early online date9 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • EEG-fMRI
  • Negative BOLD
  • NBR
  • Alpha
  • ERS
  • Cross-modal


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