The major purpose of this study was to explore the changes in the local/global gamma-band neural synchronies during target/non-target processing due to task difficulty under an auditory three-stimulus oddball paradigm. Multichannel event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from fifteen healthy participants during the oddball task. In addition to the conventional ERP analysis, we investigated the modulations in gamma-band activity (GBA) and inter-regional gamma-band phase synchrony (GBPS) for infrequent target and non-target processing due to task difficulty. The most notable finding was that the difficulty-related changes in inter-regional GBPS (33-35 Hz) at P300 epoch (350-600 ms) completely differed for target and non-target processing. As task difficulty increased, the GBPS significantly reduced for target processing but increased for non-target processing. This result contrasts with the local neural synchrony in gamma-bands, which was not affected by task difficulty. Another major finding was that the spatial patterns of functional connectivity were dissociated for target and non-target processing with regard to the difficult task. The spatial pattern for target processing was compatible with the top-down attention network, whereas that for the non-target corresponded to the bottom-up attention network. Overall, we found that the inter-regional gamma-band neural synchronies during target/non-target processing change significantly with task difficulty and that this change is dissociated between target and non-target processing. Our results indicate that large-scale neural synchrony is more relevant for the difference in information processing between target and non-target stimuli.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology