Journal article

Inferring a simple mechanism for alpha-blocking by fitting a neural population model to EEG spectra

Agus Hartoyo, Peter J Cadusch, David TJ Liley, Damien G Hicks

PLoS Computational Biology | PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE | Published : 2020


Alpha blocking, a phenomenon where the alpha rhythm is reduced by attention to a visual, auditory, tactile or cognitive stimulus, is one of the most prominent features of human electroencephalography (EEG) signals. Here we identify a simple physiological mechanism by which opening of the eyes causes attenuation of the alpha rhythm. We fit a neural population model to EEG spectra from 82 subjects, each showing a different degree of alpha blocking upon opening of their eyes. Though it has been notoriously difficult to estimate parameters by fitting such models, we show how, by regularizing the differences in parameter estimates between eyes-closed and eyes-open states, we can reduce the uncert..

View full abstract


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by a Swinburne Postgraduate Research Award to AH and in part by an Australian Research Council ( grant FT140101104 to DGH. Computations were performed on the gSTAR/ozSTAR national facilities at Swinburne University of Technology funded by Swinburne and the Australian Government's Education Investment Fund. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.