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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 18;6(1):e14543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014543.

Steady-state visual evoked potentials can be explained by temporal superposition of transient event-related responses.

Author information

1
Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Institute for Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. almudena.capilla@uam.es

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

One common criterion for classifying electrophysiological brain responses is based on the distinction between transient (i.e. event-related potentials, ERPs) and steady-state responses (SSRs). The generation of SSRs is usually attributed to the entrainment of a neural rhythm driven by the stimulus train. However, a more parsimonious account suggests that SSRs might result from the linear addition of the transient responses elicited by each stimulus. This study aimed to investigate this possibility.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We recorded brain potentials elicited by a checkerboard stimulus reversing at different rates. We modeled SSRs by sequentially shifting and linearly adding rate-specific ERPs. Our results show a strong resemblance between recorded and synthetic SSRs, supporting the superposition hypothesis. Furthermore, we did not find evidence of entrainment of a neural oscillation at the stimulation frequency.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

This study provides evidence that visual SSRs can be explained as a superposition of transient ERPs. These findings have critical implications in our current understanding of brain oscillations. Contrary to the idea that neural networks can be tuned to a wide range of frequencies, our findings rather suggest that the oscillatory response of a given neural network is constrained within its natural frequency range.

PMID:
21267081
PMCID:
PMC3022588
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0014543
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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