The scientific and clinical value of event-related potentials (ERPs) depends on understanding the contributions to them of three possible mechanisms: (1) additivity of time-locked voltage changes; (2) phase resetting of ongoing oscillations; (3) asymmetrical oscillatory activity. Their relative contributions are currently uncertain. This study uses analysis of human electrocorticographic activity to quantify the origins of movement-related potentials (MRPs) and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs). The results show that MRPs are generated primarily by endogenous additivity (88%). In contrast, P1 and N1 components of AEPs are generated almost entirely by exogenous phase reset (93%). Oscillatory asymmetry contributes very little. By clarifying ERP mechanisms, these results enable creation of ERP models; and they enhance the value of ERPs for understanding the genesis of normal and abnormal auditory or sensorimotor behaviors.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience