Publication Details

De Blasio, F. & Barry, R. (2018). Prestimulus delta and theta contributions to equiprobable Go/NoGo processing in healthy ageing. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 130 40-52.


2018 Elsevier B.V. Ongoing EEG activity contributes to ERP outcomes of stimulus processing, and each of these measures is known to undergo (sometimes significant) age-related change. Variation in their relationship across the life-span may thus elucidate mechanisms of normal and pathological ageing. This study assessed the relationships between low-frequency EEG prestimulus brain states, the ERP, and behavioural outcomes in a simple equiprobable auditory Go/NoGo paradigm, comparing these for 20 young (Mage= 20.4 years) and 20 healthy older (Mage= 68.2 years) adults. Prestimulus delta and theta amplitudes were separately assessed; these were each dominant across the midline region, and reduced in the older adults. For each band, (within-subjects) trials were sorted into ten increasing prestimulus EEG levels for which separate ERPs were derived. The set of ten ERPs for each band-sort was then quantified by PCA, independently for each group (young, older adults). Four components were primarily assessed (P1, N1-1, P2/N2b complex, and P3), with each showing age-related change. Mean RT was comparable, but intra-individual RT variability increased in older adults. Prestimulus delta and theta each generally modulated component positivity, indicating broad influence on task processing. Prestimulus delta was primarily associated with the early sensory processes, and theta more with the later stimulus-specific processes; prestimulus theta also inversely modulated intra-individual RT variability across the groups. These prestimulus EEG-ERP dynamics were consistent between the young and older adults in each band for all components except the P2/N2b, suggesting that across the lifespan, Go/NoGo categorisation is differentially affected by prestimulus delta and theta.



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