Data_Sheet_1_Alpha Phase Synchronization of Parietal Areas Reflects Switch-Specific Activity During Mental Rotation: An EEG Study.pdf

Action selection is typically influenced by the history of previously selected actions (the immediate motor history), which is apparent when a selected action is switched from a previously selected one to a new one. This history dependency of the action selection is even observable during a mental hand rotation task. Thus, we hypothesized that the history-dependent interaction of actions might share the same neural mechanisms among different types of action switching tasks. An alternative hypothesis is that the history dependency of the mental hand rotation task might involve a distinctive neural mechanism from the general action selection tasks so that the reported observation with the mental hand rotation task in the previously published literature might lack generality. To refute this possibility, we compared neural activity during action switching in the mental hand rotation with the general action switching task which is triggered by a simple visual stimulus. In the experiment, to focus on temporal changes in whole brain oscillatory activity, we recorded electroencephalographic (EEG) signals while 25 healthy subjects performed the two tasks. For analysis, we examined functional connectivity reflected in EEG phase synchronization and analyzed temporal changes in brain activity when subjects switched from a previously selected action to a new action. Using a clustering-based method to identify functional connectivity reflected in time-varying phase synchronization, we identified alpha-power inter-parietal synchronization that appears only during switching of the selected action, regardless of the hand laterality in the presented image. Moreover, the current study revealed that for both tasks the extent of this alpha-power inter-parietal synchronization was altered by the history of the selected actions. These findings suggest that alpha-power inter-parietal synchronization is engaged as a form of switching-specific functional connectivity, and that switching-related activity is independent of the task paradigm.