Preferred EEG brain states at stimulus onset in normal ageing: Explorations in a fixed interstimulus interval Go/NoGo task
2020 Elsevier B.V. Some 40 years ago, Erol Başar began an interesting line of brain dynamics research on the phase of oscillatory EEG activity. Stimuli presented at a fixed interstimulus interval (ISI) were reported to produce a "preferred phase angle" at stimulus onset in the ongoing EEG oscillations, so that cortical negativity occurred more often than expected. Our previous work has confirmed this phenomenon in young adults, and linked it to enhancements in stimulus-elicited ERP components and behaviour. The present study sought evidence for this phenomenon in older adults. Twenty healthy independent-living participants (5 males) aged 59.8 to 74.8 years (M = 68.2) completed a fixed ISI equiprobable auditory oddball task. EEG phases in four traditional bands were computed separately for each artefact-free Go and NoGo trial. These were used to group accepted trials according to the phase quartile at stimulus onset in each band, forming 16 mean ERPs for each participant at each phase quartile/band combination, separately for Go and NoGo. The 32 mean ERPs were decomposed by separate Principal Component Analyses, and the N1 and P3 components were examined as a function of EEG phase at stimulus onset in each band. Differential preferential occurrence of phase states was found in all bands, generally confirming prior results in young adults despite important age differences in both EEG spectra and ERP morphology. Substantial effects on N1 and P3 components, as well as prestimulus CNVs, are discussed. The stability of this phenomenon across age indicates its important role in perception and cognition.