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Functional similarities between the P1 component and alpha oscillations

Authors

  • Roman Freunberger,

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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  • Yvonne Höller,

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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  • Birgit Griesmayr,

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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  • Walter Gruber,

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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  • Paul Sauseng,

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
    2. Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tuebingen, Germany
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  • Wolfgang Klimesch

    1. University of Salzburg, Department of Physiological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria
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Professor Dr W. Klimesch, as above.
E-mail: wolfgang.klimesch@sbg.ac.at

Abstract

The present study attempts to demonstrate functional similarities between the P1 component of event-related potentials and alpha oscillations that are predicted by the ‘alpha inhibition-timing’ hypothesis. On the basis of findings showing that the frequency characteristic of the P1 component lies in the alpha range and that alpha oscillation is functionally associated with inhibition, we predict that the P1 component also reflects inhibitory processes. This hypothesis is tested in two experiments, a spatial-cuing task and a visual-semantic categorization task. The results of the cuing task demonstrate that in a similar way as alpha power, the P1 component is larger over task-irrelevant ipsilateral sites. For the categorization task, we found that the P1 component, in a similar way to alpha oscillations, is larger for task-irrelevant, distorted pictures. We conclude that the P1 component may be generated at least in part by evoked alpha oscillations and reflects inhibition in the sense of suppressing task-irrelevant processes.

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