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Nat Neurosci. 2016 Dec;19(12):1707-1717. doi: 10.1038/nn.4386. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Global dynamics of selective attention and its lapses in primary auditory cortex.

Author information

1
Cognitive Neuroscience and Schizophrenia Program, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.
3
Department of Physiology &Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
4
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.

Abstract

Previous research demonstrated that while selectively attending to relevant aspects of the external world, the brain extracts pertinent information by aligning its neuronal oscillations to key time points of stimuli or their sampling by sensory organs. This alignment mechanism is termed oscillatory entrainment. We investigated the global, long-timescale dynamics of this mechanism in the primary auditory cortex of nonhuman primates, and hypothesized that lapses of entrainment would correspond to lapses of attention. By examining electrophysiological and behavioral measures, we observed that besides the lack of entrainment by external stimuli, attentional lapses were also characterized by high-amplitude alpha oscillations, with alpha frequency structuring of neuronal ensemble and single-unit operations. Entrainment and alpha-oscillation-dominated periods were strongly anticorrelated and fluctuated rhythmically at an ultra-slow rate. Our results indicate that these two distinct brain states represent externally versus internally oriented computational resources engaged by large-scale task-positive and task-negative functional networks.

PMID:
27618311
PMCID:
PMC5127770
DOI:
10.1038/nn.4386
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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