Lack of Systematic Topographic Difference between Attention and Reasoning Beta Correlates

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Based on previous evidence for individual-specific sets of cortical areas active during simple attention tasks, in this work we intended to perform within individual comparisons of task-induced beta oscillations between visual attention and a reasoning task. Since beta induced oscillations are not time-locked to task events and were first observed by Fourier transforms, in order to analyze the cortical topography of attention induced beta activity, we have previously computed corrected-latency averages based on spontaneous peaks of band-pass filtered epochs. We then used Independent Component Analysis (ICA) only to single out the significant portion of averaged data, above noise levels. In the present work ICA served as the main, exhaustive means for decomposing beta activity in both tasks, using 128-channel EEG data from 24 subjects. Given the previous observed similarity between tasks by visual inspection and by simple descriptive statistics, we now intended another approach: to quantify how much each ICA component obtained in one task could be explained by a linear combination of the topographic patterns from the other task in each individual. Our hypothesis was that the major psychological difference between tasks would not be reflected as important topographic differences within individuals. Results confirmed the high topographic similarity between attention and reasoning beta correlates in that few components in each individual were not satisfactorily explained by the complementary task, and if those could be considered "task-specific", their scalp distribution and estimated cortical sources were not common across subjects. These findings, along with those from fMRI studies preserving individual data and conventional neuropsychological and neurosurgical observations, are discussed in support of a new functional localization hypothesis: individuals use largely different sets of cortical association areas to perform a given task, but those individual sets do not change importantly across tasks that differ in major psychological processes. © 2013 Basile et al.




Basile, L. F. H., Sato, J. R., Alvarenga, M. Y., Henrique, N., Pasquini, H. A., Alfenas, W., … Ramos, R. T. (2013). Lack of Systematic Topographic Difference between Attention and Reasoning Beta Correlates. PLoS ONE, 8(3).

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