The effect of selective attention on the gamma-band auditory steady-state response

Patrick D. Skosnik, Giri P. Krishnan, Brian F. O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


Studies have demonstrated that selective attention can modulate the steady-state evoked potential to repetitive visual and tactile stimulation. However, examinations of the effect of attention on the auditory steady-state response (ASSR) have proven equivocal. The current experiment therefore utilized EEG to examine the effect of attention on the ASSR in healthy humans (n = 15). Auditory click trains in the beta (20 Hz) and gamma (40 Hz) ranges were randomly presented binaurally in an oddball discrimination paradigm (each frequency served as the oddball (target) in each of two blocks). A Fast Fourier Transform was used to assess the effect of attention on the ASSR (signal power), and phase consistency across trials was assessed using the phase-locking factor (PLF). As expected, both 20 and 40 Hz targets elicited a robust P300 response, with maximal amplitudes over parietal regions. For the ASSR, it was found that EEG signal power was larger to 40 Hz targets compared to 40 Hz frequent stimuli across all frontocentral electrodes. No differences in signal power were observed during 20 Hz stimulation. Finally, increased PLF values were observed for 40 Hz targets compared to frequent trials. These results provide evidence that selective attention can enhance signal power and phase-locking of the ASSR, particularly to auditory stimulation in the gamma range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-228
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007


  • Attention
  • Auditory
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • Perception
  • Steady-state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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