Dynamics of large-scale cortical interactions at high gamma frequencies during word production: Event related causality (ERC) analysis of human electrocorticography (ECoG)

Anna Korzeniewska, Piotr J. Franaszczuk, Ciprian M. Crainiceanu, Rafaś Kuł, Nathan E. Crone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intracranial EEG studies in humans have shown that functional brain activation in a variety of functional-anatomic domains of human cortex is associated with an increase in power at a broad range of high gamma (> 60. Hz) frequencies. Although these electrophysiological responses are highly specific for the location and timing of cortical processing and in animal recordings are highly correlated with increased population firing rates, there has been little direct empirical evidence for causal interactions between different recording sites at high gamma frequencies. Such causal interactions are hypothesized to occur during cognitive tasks that activate multiple brain regions. To determine whether such causal interactions occur at high gamma frequencies and to investigate their functional significance, we used event-related causality (ERC) analysis to estimate the dynamics, directionality, and magnitude of event-related causal interactions using subdural electrocorticography (ECoG) recorded during two word production tasks: picture naming and auditory word repetition. A clinical subject who had normal hearing but was skilled in American Signed Language (ASL) provided a unique opportunity to test our hypothesis with reference to a predictable pattern of causal interactions, i.e. that language cortex interacts with different areas of sensorimotor cortex during spoken vs. signed responses. Our ERC analyses confirmed this prediction. During word production with spoken responses, perisylvian language sites had prominent causal interactions with mouth/tongue areas of motor cortex, and when responses were gestured in sign language, the most prominent interactions involved hand and arm areas of motor cortex. Furthermore, we found that the sites from which the most numerous and prominent causal interactions originated, i.e. sites with a pattern of ERC "divergence", were also sites where high gamma power increases were most prominent and where electrocortical stimulation mapping interfered with word production. These findings suggest that the number, strength and directionality of event-related causal interactions may help identify network nodes that are not only activated by a task but are critical to its performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2218-2237
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 15 2011


  • Effective connectivity
  • Granger causality
  • High gamma oscillations
  • Language mapping
  • Large-scale brain networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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