The Influence of visuospatial attention on unattended auditory 40 Hz responses

Cullen Roth, Cota Navin Gupta, Sergey M. Plis, Eswar Damaraju, Siddharth Khullar, Vince Calhoun, David A. Bridwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Information must integrate from multiple brain areas in healthy cognition and perception. The present study examined the extent to which cortical responses within one sensory modality are modulated by a complex task conducted within another sensory modality. Electroencephalographic (EEG) responses were measured to a 40 Hz auditory stimulus while individuals attended to modulations in the amplitude of the 40 Hz stimulus, and as a function of the intensity of the popular computer game Tetris. The steady-state response to the 40 Hz stimulus was isolated by Fourier analysis of the EEG. The response at the stimulus frequency was normalized by the response within the surrounding frequencies, generating the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Seven out of 8 individuals demonstrate a monotonic increase in the log SNR of the 40 Hz responses going from the difficult visuospatial task to the easy visuospatial task to attending to the auditory stimuli. This pattern is represented statistically by a one-way ANOVA, indicating significant differences in log SNR across the three tasks. The sensitivity of 40 Hz auditory responses to the visuospatial load was further demonstrated by a significant correlation between log SNR and the difficulty (i.e. speed) of the Tetris task. Thus, the results demonstrate that 40 Hz auditory cortical responses are influenced by an individual's goal-directed attention to the stimulus, and by the degree of difficulty of a complex visuospatial task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 25 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 40 Hz
  • EEG
  • Frequency tagging
  • Gamma band
  • ICA
  • Tetris
  • Visuospatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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