Alpha/beta power decreases track the fidelity of stimulus-specific information

  1. Benjamin James Griffiths
  2. Stephen D Mayhew
  3. Karen J Mullinger
  4. João Jorge
  5. Ian Charest
  6. Maria Wimber
  7. Simon Hanslmayr  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
  2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract

Massed synchronised neuronal firing is detrimental to information processing. When networks of task-irrelevant neurons fire in unison, they mask the signal generated by task-critical neurons. On a macroscopic level, such synchronisation can contribute to alpha/beta (8-30Hz) oscillations. Reducing the amplitude of these oscillations, therefore, may enhance information processing. Here, we test this hypothesis. Twenty-one participants completed an associative memory task while undergoing simultaneous EEG-fMRI recordings. Using representational similarity analysis, we quantified the amount of stimulus-specific information represented within the BOLD signal on every trial. When correlating this metric with concurrently-recorded alpha/beta power, we found a significant negative correlation which indicated that as post-stimulus alpha/beta power decreased, stimulus-specific information increased. Critically, we found this effect in three unique tasks: visual perception, auditory perception, and visual memory retrieval, indicating that this phenomenon transcends both stimulus modality and cognitive task. These results indicate that alpha/beta power decreases parametrically track the fidelity of both externally-presented and internally-generated stimulus-specific information represented within the cortex.

Data availability

The data has been made available on OpenNeuro (https://openneuro.org/datasets/ds002000/versions/1.0.0). Additionally, the data used to create the figures can be found on the Github repository with the associated scripts. (https://github.com/benjaminGriffiths/reinstatement_fidelity)

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Benjamin James Griffiths

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Stephen D Mayhew

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Karen J Mullinger

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. João Jorge

    Laboratory for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Ian Charest

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Maria Wimber

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Simon Hanslmayr

    School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    s.hanslmayr@bham.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-4448-2147

Funding

H2020 European Research Council (647954)

  • Simon Hanslmayr

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: Participants provided informed consent to the experiment, the publication of the results, and the uploading of their anonymised data. Ethical approval was granted by the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Birmingham (ERN_15-0335B), complying with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Saskia Haegens, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 21, 2019
  2. Accepted: November 28, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 29, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: December 10, 2019 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2019, Griffiths et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Benjamin James Griffiths
  2. Stephen D Mayhew
  3. Karen J Mullinger
  4. João Jorge
  5. Ian Charest
  6. Maria Wimber
  7. Simon Hanslmayr
(2019)
Alpha/beta power decreases track the fidelity of stimulus-specific information
eLife 8:e49562.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.49562
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