The Broadband-Transient Induced Gamma-Band Response in Scalp EEG Reflects the Execution of Saccades

The contraction of the extra-ocular muscles, during the execution of saccades, produces a strong electric potential in the EEG called the saccadic spike potential (SP). At the frequency spectrum, this SP manifests as a broadband response with most of its power at the gamma-band frequencies. Saccadic activity is known to follow a time-pattern of repression (at around 50–150 ms post stimulus) which is followed by a large increase in saccadic rate at around 200–300 ms post stimulus. Due to this temporal pattern relative to the stimulus, and to the appearance of a SP at each saccade, this increase in saccadic rate shows up after averaging as an increase in gamma-band activity at the time-range of 200–300 ms. Thus, the broadband-transient “induced gamma-band response” frequently reported in the EEG literature, is in fact a “gamma-imposter”, due to ocular myographic activity, and not to neural activity. Previous findings regarding the scalp EEG broadband-transient induced gamma-band response, relating it to neural synchronization and to various cognitive functions should be reevaluated considering the systematic contamination by ocular activity.

Authors: Yuval-Greenberg S, Deouell LY.
Year of publication: 2009
Journal: Brain Topography, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 3–6

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