Two spatially distinct posterior alpha sources fulfill different functional roles in attention

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Two spatially distinct posterior alpha sources fulfill different functional roles in attention. / Sokoliuk, Rodika; Mayhew, Stephen; Aquino, Kevin; Wilson, Ross; Brookes, Matthew J.; Francis, Susan; Hanslmayr, Simon; Mullinger, Karen.

In: The Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 39, No. 36, 04.09.2019, p. 7183-7194.

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@article{c14ae2a359cf424ea5a53e70fbe0594a,
title = "Two spatially distinct posterior alpha sources fulfill different functional roles in attention",
abstract = "Directing attention helps to extract relevant information and suppress distracters. Alpha brain oscillations (8-12 Hz) are crucial for this process, with power decreases facilitating processing of important information and power increases inhibiting brain regions processing irrelevant information. Evidence for this phenomenon arises from visual attention studies (Worden et al., 2000); however, the effect also exists in other modalities, including the somatosensory system (Haegens et al., 2011) and intersensory attention tasks (Foxe and Snyder, 2011). We investigated in human participants (10 females, 10 males) the role of alpha oscillations in focused (0/100%) versus divided (40/60%) attention, both across modalities (visual/somatosensory; Experiment 1) and within the same modality (visual domain: across hemifields; Experiment 2) while recording EEG over 128 scalp electrodes. In Experiment 1, participants divided their attention between visual and somatosensory modality to determine the temporal/spatial frequency of a target stimulus (vibrotactile stimulus/Gabor grating). In Experiment 2, participants divided attention between two visual hemifields to identify the orientation of a Gabor grating. In both experiments, prestimulus alpha power in visual areas decreased linearly with increasing attention to visual stimuli. In contrast, prestimulus alpha power in parietal areas was lower when attention was divided between modalities/hemifields compared with focused attention. These results suggest there are two alpha sources, one of which reflects the {"}visual spotlight of attention{"} and the other reflects attentional effort. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that attention recruits two spatially distinct alpha sources in occipital and parietal brain regions, acting simultaneously but serving different functions in attention.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Attention to one spatial location/sensory modality leads to power changes of alpha oscillations (∼10 Hz) with decreased power over regions processing relevant information and power increases to actively inhibit areas processing {"}to-be-ignored{"} information. Here, we used detailed source modeling to investigate EEG data recorded during separate unimodal (visual) and multimodal (visual and somatosensory) attention tasks. Participants either focused their attention on one modality/spatial location or directed it to both. We show for the first time two distinct alpha sources are active simultaneously but play different roles. A sensory (visual) alpha source was linearly modulated by attention representing the {"}visual spotlight of attention.{"} By contrast, a parietal alpha source was modulated by attentional effort, showing lowest alpha power when attention was divided.",
keywords = "alpha oscillations, attention, brain oscillations, EEG, multimodal attention, source estimates",
author = "Rodika Sokoliuk and Stephen Mayhew and Kevin Aquino and Ross Wilson and Brookes, {Matthew J.} and Susan Francis and Simon Hanslmayr and Karen Mullinger",
note = "Copyright {\textcopyright} 2019 the authors.",
year = "2019",
month = sep,
day = "4",
doi = "10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1993-18.2019",
language = "English",
volume = "39",
pages = "7183--7194",
journal = "The Journal of Neuroscience",
issn = "0270-6474",
publisher = "Society for Neuroscience",
number = "36",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Two spatially distinct posterior alpha sources fulfill different functional roles in attention

AU - Sokoliuk, Rodika

AU - Mayhew, Stephen

AU - Aquino, Kevin

AU - Wilson, Ross

AU - Brookes, Matthew J.

AU - Francis, Susan

AU - Hanslmayr, Simon

AU - Mullinger, Karen

N1 - Copyright © 2019 the authors.

PY - 2019/9/4

Y1 - 2019/9/4

N2 - Directing attention helps to extract relevant information and suppress distracters. Alpha brain oscillations (8-12 Hz) are crucial for this process, with power decreases facilitating processing of important information and power increases inhibiting brain regions processing irrelevant information. Evidence for this phenomenon arises from visual attention studies (Worden et al., 2000); however, the effect also exists in other modalities, including the somatosensory system (Haegens et al., 2011) and intersensory attention tasks (Foxe and Snyder, 2011). We investigated in human participants (10 females, 10 males) the role of alpha oscillations in focused (0/100%) versus divided (40/60%) attention, both across modalities (visual/somatosensory; Experiment 1) and within the same modality (visual domain: across hemifields; Experiment 2) while recording EEG over 128 scalp electrodes. In Experiment 1, participants divided their attention between visual and somatosensory modality to determine the temporal/spatial frequency of a target stimulus (vibrotactile stimulus/Gabor grating). In Experiment 2, participants divided attention between two visual hemifields to identify the orientation of a Gabor grating. In both experiments, prestimulus alpha power in visual areas decreased linearly with increasing attention to visual stimuli. In contrast, prestimulus alpha power in parietal areas was lower when attention was divided between modalities/hemifields compared with focused attention. These results suggest there are two alpha sources, one of which reflects the "visual spotlight of attention" and the other reflects attentional effort. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that attention recruits two spatially distinct alpha sources in occipital and parietal brain regions, acting simultaneously but serving different functions in attention.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Attention to one spatial location/sensory modality leads to power changes of alpha oscillations (∼10 Hz) with decreased power over regions processing relevant information and power increases to actively inhibit areas processing "to-be-ignored" information. Here, we used detailed source modeling to investigate EEG data recorded during separate unimodal (visual) and multimodal (visual and somatosensory) attention tasks. Participants either focused their attention on one modality/spatial location or directed it to both. We show for the first time two distinct alpha sources are active simultaneously but play different roles. A sensory (visual) alpha source was linearly modulated by attention representing the "visual spotlight of attention." By contrast, a parietal alpha source was modulated by attentional effort, showing lowest alpha power when attention was divided.

AB - Directing attention helps to extract relevant information and suppress distracters. Alpha brain oscillations (8-12 Hz) are crucial for this process, with power decreases facilitating processing of important information and power increases inhibiting brain regions processing irrelevant information. Evidence for this phenomenon arises from visual attention studies (Worden et al., 2000); however, the effect also exists in other modalities, including the somatosensory system (Haegens et al., 2011) and intersensory attention tasks (Foxe and Snyder, 2011). We investigated in human participants (10 females, 10 males) the role of alpha oscillations in focused (0/100%) versus divided (40/60%) attention, both across modalities (visual/somatosensory; Experiment 1) and within the same modality (visual domain: across hemifields; Experiment 2) while recording EEG over 128 scalp electrodes. In Experiment 1, participants divided their attention between visual and somatosensory modality to determine the temporal/spatial frequency of a target stimulus (vibrotactile stimulus/Gabor grating). In Experiment 2, participants divided attention between two visual hemifields to identify the orientation of a Gabor grating. In both experiments, prestimulus alpha power in visual areas decreased linearly with increasing attention to visual stimuli. In contrast, prestimulus alpha power in parietal areas was lower when attention was divided between modalities/hemifields compared with focused attention. These results suggest there are two alpha sources, one of which reflects the "visual spotlight of attention" and the other reflects attentional effort. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that attention recruits two spatially distinct alpha sources in occipital and parietal brain regions, acting simultaneously but serving different functions in attention.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Attention to one spatial location/sensory modality leads to power changes of alpha oscillations (∼10 Hz) with decreased power over regions processing relevant information and power increases to actively inhibit areas processing "to-be-ignored" information. Here, we used detailed source modeling to investigate EEG data recorded during separate unimodal (visual) and multimodal (visual and somatosensory) attention tasks. Participants either focused their attention on one modality/spatial location or directed it to both. We show for the first time two distinct alpha sources are active simultaneously but play different roles. A sensory (visual) alpha source was linearly modulated by attention representing the "visual spotlight of attention." By contrast, a parietal alpha source was modulated by attentional effort, showing lowest alpha power when attention was divided.

KW - alpha oscillations

KW - attention

KW - brain oscillations

KW - EEG

KW - multimodal attention

KW - source estimates

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85071785259&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1993-18.2019

DO - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1993-18.2019

M3 - Article

C2 - 31341028

VL - 39

SP - 7183

EP - 7194

JO - The Journal of Neuroscience

JF - The Journal of Neuroscience

SN - 0270-6474

IS - 36

ER -