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Open Journal of Neuroscience

ISSN: 2075-9088
Volume 5, 2017

Open Journal of Neuroscience, 2012, 2-5 [Research Article]

Brain state-triggered stimulus delivery: An efficient tool for probing ongoing brain activity

Mark L. Andermann1,2,3, Jaakko Kauramäki1, Tapio Palomäki1, Christopher I. Moore3, Riitta Hari2, Iiro P. Jääskeläinen1, Mikko Sams1
1 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland
2 Brain Research Unit, Low Temperature Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland
3 Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence, MA, USA

Corresponding Author & Address:

Mark L. Andermann
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Center for Life Sciences, Rm 750, 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA, 02115, USA; Tel: (617) 913-4190; Fax:  (617) 735-3323; Email: manderma@bidmc.harvard.edu

Iiro P. Jääskeläinen
Brain and Mind Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, Aalto University, P.O. Box 12200, FIN-00076 Aalto University, Finland; Email: iiro.jaaskelainen@aalto.fi

Article History:
Published: 29th September, 2012   Accepted: 29th September, 2012
Received: 3rd August, 2012      

© Andermann and Jääskeläinen et al.; licensee Ross Science Publishers

ROSS Open Access articles will be distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work will always be cited properly.

Keywords: spontaneous activity, prestimulus, online, brain-computer interface, auditory


What is the relationship between variability in ongoing brain activity preceding a sensory stimulus and subsequent perception of that stimulus? A challenge in the study of this key topic in systems neuroscience is the relative rarity of certain brain ‘states’—left to chance, they may seldom align with sensory presentation. We developed a novel method for studying the influence of targeted brain states on subsequent perceptual performance by online identification of spatiotemporal brain activity patterns of interest, and brain-state triggered presentation of subsequent stimuli. This general method was applied to an electroencephalography study of human auditory selective listening. We obtained online, time-varying estimates of the instantaneous direction of neural bias (towards processing left or right ear sounds). Detection of target sounds was influenced by pre-target fluctuations in neural bias, within and across trials. We propose that brain state-triggered stimulus delivery will enable efficient, statistically tractable studies of rare patterns of ongoing activity in single neurons and distributed neural circuits, and their influence on subsequent behavioral and neural responses.

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