EEG delta oscillations index inhibitory control of contextual novelty to both irrelevant distracters and relevant task-switch cues

Authors

  • Laura Prada,

    1. Laboratory of Neuropsychology, University of Illes Balears, Mallorca, Spain
    2. Asociación de Neuropsicología Balear (ANEBA), Mallorca, Spain
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  • Francisco Barceló,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Neuropsychology, University of Illes Balears, Mallorca, Spain
    2. Asociación de Neuropsicología Balear (ANEBA), Mallorca, Spain
    • Address correspondence to: Francisco Barceló, PhD, Laboratory of Neuropsychology, University of Illes Balears, Ctra. Valldemossa, km 7.5, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain. E-mail: f.barcelo@uib.es

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  • Christoph S. Herrmann,

    1. Experimental Psychology Lab, Center for Excellence ‘Hearing4all,’ European Medical School, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany
    2. Research Center Neurosensory Science, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany
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  • Carles Escera

    1. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
    2. Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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  • This work was supported by grants from Fundació La Marató TV3 (ref. 112710), the Generalitat de Catalunya (SGR2009-11), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PSI2010-17419, Consolider-Ingenio 2010 CSD2007-00012), and an ICREA Academia Distinguished Professorship awarded to CE.

Abstract

Delta oscillations contribute to the human P300 event-related potential evoked by oddball targets, although it is unclear whether they index contextual novelty (event oddballness, novelty P3, nP3), or target-related processes (event targetness, target P3b). To examine this question, the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded during a cued task-switching version of the Wisconsin card-sorting test. Each target card was announced by a tone cueing either to switch or repeat the task. Novel sound distracters were interspersed among trials. Time-frequency EEG analyses revealed bursts of delta (2–4 Hz) power associated with enhanced nP3 amplitudes to both task-switch cues and novel distracters—but no association with target P3b. These findings indicate that the P300-delta response indexes contextual novelty regardless of whether novelty emanates from endogenous (new task rules) or exogenous (novel distracters) sources of information.

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