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Neurosci Lett. 2002 May 24;324(3):213-6.

Stochastic resonance in human electroencephalographic activity elicited by mechanical tactile stimuli.

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Instituto de Fisiología, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 14 Sur 6301, Col. San Manuel. Apartado Postal 406, Puebla, Pue. CP 72570, Mexico.


Stochastic resonance (SR) is a phenomenon in which the response of a non-linear system to a weak input signal is optimized by the presence of noise. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the experimental occurrence of SR in electroencephalographic (EEG) activity elicited by mechanical tactile stimuli. Our experiments show that EEG responses evoked by mechanical tactile stimuli in the region overlying the somatosensory cortical area were optimized by the addition of certain noise amplitudes. All subjects showed distinct SR behavior. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the response evoked by mechanical indentations of the skin was an inverted U-like function of the input noise. As the noise amplitude increased, SNR values became larger. A maximum value was reached with a particular noise amplitude value. Beyond such peak, with higher noise amplitudes, the curve subsided gradually. To our knowledge, this is the first documented evidence that such remarkable phenomenon embodies electrical processes of the human brain. Such behavior might explain related findings described in psychophysical studies.

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