Simultaneous EEG/fMRI analysis of the resonance phenomena in steady-state visual evoked responses

BAYRAM A., BAYRAKTAROĞLU Z., Karahan E., Erdogan B., BİLGİÇ B., Özker M., ...More

Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, vol.42, no.2, pp.98-106, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/155005941104200210
  • Journal Name: Clinical EEG and Neuroscience
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.98-106
  • Keywords: Electroencephalography, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Multimodal neuroimaging, Neuronal oscillator, Resonance, Steady-state visual evoked potentials
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The stability of the steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) across trials and subjects makes them a suitable tool for the investigation of the visual system. The reproducible pattern of the frequency characteristics of SSVEPs shows a global amplitude maximum around 10 Hz and additional local maxima around 20 and 40 Hz, which have been argued to represent resonant behavior of damped neuronal oscillators. Simultaneous electroencephalogram/functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG/fMRI) measurement allows testing of the resonance hypothesis about the frequency-selective increases in SSVEP amplitudes in human subjects, because the total synaptic activity that is represented in the fMRI-Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (fMRI-BOLD) response would not increase but get synchronized at the resonance frequency. For this purpose, 40 healthy volunteers were visually stimulated with flickering light at systematically varying frequencies between 6 and 46 Hz, and the correlations between SSVEP amplitudes and the BOLD responses were computed. The SSVEP frequency characteristics of all subjects showed 3 frequency ranges with an amplitude maximum in each of them, which roughly correspond to alpha, beta and gamma bands of the EEG. The correlation maps between BOLD responses and SSVEP amplitude changes across the different stimulation frequencies within each frequency band showed no significant correlation in the alpha range, while significant correlations were obtained in the primary visual area for the beta and gamma bands. This non-linear relationship between the surface recorded SSVEP amplitudes and the BOLD responses of the visual cortex at stimulation frequencies around the alpha band supports the view that a resonance at the tuning frequency of the thalamo-cortical alpha oscillator in the visual system is responsible for the global amplitude maximum of the SSVEP around 10 Hz. Information gained from the SSVEP/fMRI analyses in the present study might be extrapolated to the EEG/fMRI analysis of the transient event-related potentials (ERPs) in terms of expecting more reliable and consistent correlations between EEG and fMRI responses, when the analyses are carried out on evoked or induced oscillations (spectral perturbations) in separate frequency bands instead of the time-domain ERP peaks.