October 29, 2020

Dissociation of Medial Frontal β-Bursts and Executive Control

The neural mechanisms of executive and motor control concern both basic researchers and clinicians. In human studies, preparation and cancellation of movements are accompanied by changes in the {beta}-frequency band (15-29 Hz) of EEG. Previous studies with human participants performing stop signal (countermanding) tasks have described reduced frequency of transient {beta}-bursts over sensorimotor cortical areas before movement initiation and increased {beta}-bursting over medial frontal areas with movement cancellation. This modulation has been interpreted as contributing to the trial-by-trial control of behavior. We performed identical analyses of EEG recorded over the frontal lobe of macaque monkeys performing a saccade countermanding task. Whilst, we replicate the occurrence and modulation of {beta}-bursts associated with initiation and cancellation of saccades, we found that {beta}-bursts occur too infrequently to account for the observed stopping behavior. We also found {beta}-bursts were more common after errors, but their incidence was unrelated to response time adaptation. These results demonstrate the homology of this EEG signature between humans and macaques but raise questions about the current interpretation of {beta}-band functional significance.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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