KNAW

Research

On the functional role of oscillatory neuronal activity in the somatosensory system

Pagina-navigatie:


Update content


Title On the functional role of oscillatory neuronal activity in the somatosensory system
Period 12 / 2011 - 03 / 2012
Status Completed
Dissertation Yes
Research number OND1345044
Data Supplier NWo

Abstract

In daily life our brains receive a continuous stream of sensory input. Effective processing in a complex natural environment requires attention: selection of relevant input and suppression of irrelevant information. Recent work shows that brain activity reflecting the internal state prior to perception is highly relevant for subsequent processing of external information. In particular, (anticipatory) oscillatory brain activity in the alpha frequency band (8-14 Hz) is thought to reflect functional inhibition: decreased alpha facilitates processing whereas increased alpha functions to suppress distracting input. My recent research has provided substantial evidence for this functional role of the alpha rhythm and its consequences for behaviour. However, the underlying neurophysiological mechanism remains surprisingly ill-understood. How exactly do alpha oscillations influence neuronal processing? The proposed project aims to answer this highly relevant question. Using intracranial recordings, I will have the unique opportunity to test the hypothesis that alpha oscillations modulate neuronal processing in a phasic manner in order to allocate attention. Combining the theoretical framework proposing that alpha reflects functional inhibition, with unique data recordings and state-of-the-art methods to assess the causal interaction between alpha oscillations and neuronal processing, the proposed project will provide fundamental insights into the brain mechanisms underlying attention.

Abstract (NL)

Hersenactiviteit wordt gekenmerkt door hersengolven met verschillende ritmes. Saskia Haegens keek naar het alpharitme: golven van 10 Hz die betrokken zijn bij het sturen van de informatiestroom door de hersenen. Als een hersengebied belangrijk is voor een bepaalde taak is de alpha-activiteit laag, moet een hersengebied daarentegen worden geremd omdat het zou kunnen afleiden van de focus op dat moment, dan is de alpha-activiteit hoog. De onderzoekers laten zien dat dit mechanisme opgaat voor verschillende hersengebieden, en dat het cruciaal is voor zowel aandacht als geheugenprocessen. Hersengolven bepalen de staat van het brein en daarmee de alertheid en het reactievermogen.

Related organisations

Related people

Supervisor Prof.dr. D.G. Norris
Co-supervisor Prof.dr. O. Jensen
Doctoral/PhD student Dr. S. Haegens

Go to page top
Go back to contents
Go back to site navigation