Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 599–607 | Cite as

Amplitude and phase relationship between alpha and beta oscillations in the human electroencephalogram

  • H. Carlqvist
  • V. V. Nikulin
  • J. O. Strömberg
  • T. Brismar


The relationship between the electro-encephalographic (EEG) alpha and beta oscillations in the resting condition was investigated in the study. EEGs were recorded in 33 subjects, and alpha (7.5–12.5 Hz) and beta (15–25 Hz) oscillations were extracted with the use of a modified wavelet transform. Power, peak frequency and phase synchronisation were evaluated for both types of oscillation. The average beta—alpha peak frequency ratio was about 1.9–2.0 for all electrode derivations. The peak frequency of beta activity was within 70–90% of the 95% confidence interval of twice the alpha frequency. A significant (p<0.05) linear regression was found between beta and alpha power in all derivations in 32 subjects, with the slope of the regression line being ≈0.3. There was no significant difference in the slope of the line in different electrode locations, although the power correlation was strongest in the occipital locations where alpha and beta oscillations had the largest power. A significant 1∶2 phase synchronisation was present between the alpha and beta oscillations, with a phase lag of about Π/2 in all electrode derivations. The strong frequency relationship between the resting beta and alpha oscillations suggests that they are generated by a common mechanism. Power and phase relationships were weaker, suggesting that these properties can be modulated by additional mechanisms as well as be influenced by noise. A careful distinction between alpha-dependent and alpha-independent beta activity should be considered when making statements about the possible significance of genuine beta activity in different neurophysiological mechanisms.


Alpha and beta oscillations EEG Mu rhythm Fast Fourier Transform 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Carlqvist
    • 1
  • V. V. Nikulin
    • 2
  • J. O. Strömberg
    • 1
  • T. Brismar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden

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