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Neuroimage. 2013 Sep;78:439-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.040. Epub 2013 Apr 21.

Visual stimulus eccentricity affects human gamma peak frequency.

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Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Deutschordenstr. 46, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.


The peak frequency of neuronal gamma-band synchronization has received much attention in recent years. Gamma peak frequency shifts to higher frequency values for higher contrast, faster moving, and attended stimuli. In monkey V1, gamma peak frequency for a drifting grating is higher for a parafoveal as compared to an eccentric stimulus (Lima et al., 2010). This effect might be due to the cortical magnification factor: the higher cortical magnification for parafoveal stimuli increases the velocity with which the cortical representations of the moving grating stripes move across the cortical surface. Since faster moving stimuli lead to higher gamma frequency, a faster moving cortical representation might do the same. This explanation predicts that the eccentricity effect on gamma peak frequency is absent for stationary stimuli. To test this, we investigated the effect of eccentricity on gamma peak frequency by recording magnetoencephalography in human subjects while they viewed moving or stationary gratings. We found that both the moving and the stationary stimuli induced lower peak frequencies for larger eccentricities, arguing against an explanation based on the cortical magnification factor. We further investigated whether this eccentricity effect was explained by differences in the size or the spatial frequency of the expected cortical activation. Neither of those explained the eccentricity effect. We propose that the different stimulus and top-down factors leading to higher gamma peak frequency all result in higher stimulus salience, that salience is translated into gamma peak frequency, and that gamma peak frequency might subserve the preferential processing of neuronal activity induced by salient stimuli.

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