Alpha power and coherence primarily reflect neural activity related to stages of motor response during a continuous monitoring task

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Previously, EEG theta (4-6 Hz) was related to goal conflict resolution Moore, R.A., Gale, A., Morris, P.H., Forrester, D., 2006. Theta phase locking across the neocortex reflects cortico-hippocampal recursive communication during goal conflict resolution. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 60, 260-273 in the context of theory linked with animal hippocampal theta Gray, J.A., McNaughton, N., 2000. The Neuropsychology of Anxiety: An Enquiry into the Functions of the Septo-Hippocampal system, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Here, the hypothesis that human EEG alpha (8-12 Hz) may also be a natural analogue to animal hippocampal theta is tested. Participants engaged in a monitoring task where the object was to press a response key immediately after presentation of 4 individual, non-repeating, single integer odd digits. These were presented amongst a continuous stream of single integer digits and Xs. EEG recorded in the earlier study were reanalysed; this time extracting alpha power and coherence from the same 34 participants. Alpha had a different profile to theta and was not primarily related to goal conflict. Low alpha (8-10 Hz) coherence consistently increased at electrodes close to primary sensorimotor cortex; particularly during response execution and response inhibition. The coherence analysis revealed that high alpha (10-12 Hz) related to response execution. Supplementary analyses demonstrated widespread high alpha coherence increase during response execution, inhibition and preparation. These data were discussed within the context of motor driven 'classic alpha' and Rolandic mu. A coherence profile which differentiated response execution and response inhibition was proposed to reflect a working memory network which was activated during response execution. Also, alpha power (8-12 Hz) reduced at several central electrodes during response execution. This reflected classic Rolandic mu response. Participants displaying a predicted low alpha power trend had the fastest response times; this was linked with traditional views of low alpha's functional significance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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