Brain Topography

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 343–351 | Cite as

Brain Areas Responsible for Vigilance: An EEG Source Imaging Study

  • Jung-Hoon Kim
  • Do-Won Kim
  • Chang-Hwan Im
Original Paper


Vigilance, sometimes referred to as sustained attention, is an important type of human attention as it is closely associated with cognitive activities required in various daily-life situations. Although many researchers have investigated which brain areas control the maintenance of vigilance, findings have been inconsistent. We hypothesized that this inconsistency might be due to the use of different experimental paradigms in the various studies. We found that most of the previous studies used paradigms that included specific cognitive tasks requiring a high cognitive load, which could complicate identification of brain areas associated only with vigilance. To minimize the influence of cognitive processes other than vigilance on the analysis results, we adopted the d2-test of attention, which is a well-known neuropsychological test of attention that does not require high cognitive load, and searched for brain areas at which EEG source activities were temporally correlated with fluctuation of vigilance over a prolonged period of time. EEG experiments conducted with 31 young adults showed that left prefrontal cortex activity was significantly correlated with vigilance variation in the delta, beta1, beta2, and gamma frequency bands, but not the theta and alpha frequency bands. Our study results suggest that the left prefrontal cortex plays a key role in vigilance modulation, and can therefore be used to monitor individual vigilance changes over time or serve as a potential target of noninvasive brain stimulation.


Vigilance Sustained attention Electroencephalography Source imaging D2 test of attention 



This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) grants funded by Korea government (MSIP) (NRF-2015M3C7A1031969 and 2015R1A2A1A15054662).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringChonnam National UniversityYeosuRepublic of Korea

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