Published on Sat Sep 11 2021

Modelling neural entrainment and its persistence: influence of frequency of stimulation and phase at the stimulus offset

Otero, M., Lea-Carnall, C. A., Prado, P., Escobar, M.-J., El-Deredy, W.

The entrainment (synchronization) of brain oscillations to the frequency of sensory stimuli is a key mechanism that shapes perceptual and cognitive processes. Atypical neural Entrainment leads to neuro-psychological deficits. We investigated the dynamic of neural entrainments.

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Abstract

The entrainment (synchronization) of brain oscillations to the frequency of sensory stimuli is a key mechanism that shapes perceptual and cognitive processes, such that atypical neural entrainment leads to neuro-psychological deficits. We investigated the dynamic of neural entrainment. Particular attention was paid to the oscillatory behavior that succeed the end of the stimulation, since the persistence (reverberation) of neural entrainment may condition future sensory representations based on predictions about stimulus rhythmicity. A modified Jansen-Rit neural mass model of coupled cortical columns generated a time series whose frequency spectrum resembled that of the electroencephalogram. We evaluated spectro-temporal features of entrainment, during and after rhythmic stimulation of different frequencies, as a function of the resonance frequency of the neural population and the coupling strength between cortical columns. We tested if the duration of the entrainment persistence depended on the state of the neural network at the time the stimulus ends. The entrainment of the column that received the stimulation was maximum when the frequency of the entrainer was within a narrow range around the resonance frequency of the column. When this occurred, entrainment persisted forseveral cycles after the stimulus terminated, and the propagation of the entrainment to other columns was facilitated. Propagation depended on the resonance frequency of the second column, and the coupling strength between columns. The duration of the persistence of the entrainment depended on the phase of the neural oscillation at the time the entrainer terminated, such that falling phases (from {pi}/2 to 3{pi}/2 in a sine function) led to longer persistence than rising phases (from 0 to {pi}/2 and 3{pi}/2 to 2{pi}). The study bridges between models of neural oscillations and empirical electrophysiology, and provides insights to the use of rhythmic sensory stimulation for neuroenhancement.