Intracortical Recordings During Attentional Tasks

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In the last 10 years, a new field has emerged investigating in humans the functional role of high-frequency neural activity (so-called gamma-band activity, above 40 Hz) with intracerebral electroencephalography (ICE). Although restricted to patients, most of them suffering from intractable epilepsy, ICE has a combined spatiotemporal resolution unmatched by any other human brain imaging technique. In this chapter, we review the contribution of this field to the neuroscience of atten¬tion, with particular emphasis on studies investigating attentional modulation of high-level cognitive processes such as visual perception, memory, or language. Attention is shown to amplify gamma-band synchronization and desynchronization processes associated with cognition, both in early sensory areas and in temporal, parietal, and frontal associative areas. We argue that this effect of attention on gamma-band activity provides a sound basis for the development of quantitative indices of attention, and efficient attention-training systems based on noninvasive brain measures.