Presence of strong harmonics during visual entrainment: A magnetoencephalography study

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14 Scopus citations


Visual neurons are known to synchronize their firing with stimuli that flicker at a constant rate (e.g. 12. Hz). These so-called visual steady-state responses (VSSR) are a well-studied phenomenon, yet the underlying mechanisms are widely disagreed upon. Furthermore, there is limited evidence that visual neurons may simultaneously synchronize at harmonics of the stimulation frequency. We utilized magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine synchronization at harmonics of the visual stimulation frequency (18. Hz). MEG data were analyzed for event-related-synchronization (ERS) at the fundamental frequency, 36, 54, and 72. Hz. We found strong ERS in all bands. Only 31% of participants showed maximum entrainment at the fundamental; others showed stronger entrainment at either 36 or 54. Hz. The cortical foci of these responses indicated that the harmonics involved cortices that were partially distinct from the fundamental. These findings suggest that spatially-overlapping subpopulations of neurons are simultaneously entrained at different harmonics of the stimulus frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cortex
  • ERS
  • Event-related synchronization
  • Occipital
  • SSR
  • Steady-state response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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