Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroimage. 2010 Jan 15;49(2):1777-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.09.035. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Cortical dynamics of selective attention to somatosensory events.

Author information

Neuroscience & Mental Health Program, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Room 4265, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.


Recent studies have shown evidence of somatosensory deficits in individuals with attentional difficulties yet relatively little is known about the role of attention in the processing of somatosensory input. Neuromagnetic imaging studies have shown that rhythmic oscillations within the human somatosensory cortex are strongly modulated by somatosensory stimulation and may reflect the normal processing of such stimuli. However, few studies have examined how attention influences these cortical oscillations. We examined attentional effects on human somatosensory oscillations during median nerve stimulation by conducting time-frequency analyses of neuromagnetic recordings in healthy adults. We found that selective attention modulated somatosensory oscillations in the alpha, beta, and gamma bands that were both phase-locked and non-phase-locked to the stimulus. In the primary somatosensory cortex (SI), directing the subject's attention toward the somatosensory stimulus resulted in increased gamma band power (30-55 Hz) that was phase-locked to stimulus onset. Directed attention also produced an initial suppression (desynchrony) followed by enhancement (synchrony) of beta band power (13-25 Hz) that was not phase-locked to the stimulus. In the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), directing attention towards the stimulus increased phase-locked alpha (7-9 Hz) power approximately 30 ms after onset of phase-locked gamma in SI, followed by a non-phase-locked increase in alpha power. We suggest that earlier phase-locked oscillatory power may reflect the relay of input from SI to SII, whereas later non-phase-locked rhythms reflect stimulus-induced oscillations that are modulated by selective attention and may thus reflect enhanced processing of the stimulus underlying the perception of somatosensory events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center