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Dowsett, James; Herrmann, Christoph S.; Dieterich, Marianne and Taylor, Paul C.J. (April 2020): Shift in lateralization during illusory self‐motion: EEG responses to visual flicker at 10 Hz and frequency‐specific modulation by tACS. In: European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 51, No. 7: pp. 1657-1675 [PDF, 1MB]


Self‐motion perception is a key aspect of higher vestibular processing, suggested to rely upon hemispheric lateralization and alpha‐band oscillations. The first aim of this study was to test for any lateralization in the EEG alpha band during the illusory sense of self‐movement (vection) induced by large optic flow stimuli. Visual stimuli flickered at alpha frequency (approx. 10 Hz) in order to produce steady state visually evoked potentials (SSVEP s), a robust EEG measure which allows probing the frequency‐specific response of the cortex. The first main result was that differential lateralization of the alpha SSVEP response was found during vection compared with a matched random motion control condition, supporting the idea of lateralization of visual–vestibular function. Additionally, this effect was frequency‐specific, not evident with lower frequency SSVEP s. The second aim of this study was to test for a causal role of the right hemisphere in producing this lateralization effect and to explore the possibility of selectively modulating the SSVEP response. Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS ) was applied over the right hemisphere simultaneously with SSVEP recording, using a novel artefact removal strategy for combined tACS ‐EEG . The second main result was that tACS enhanced SSVEP amplitudes, and the effect of tACS was not confined to the right hemisphere. Subsequent control experiments showed the effect of tACS requires the flicker frequency and tACS frequency to be closely matched and tACS to be of sufficient intensity. Combined tACS ‐SSVEP s are a promising method for future investigation into the role of neural oscillations and for optimizing tACS .

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