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Causal links between parietal alpha activity and spatial auditory attention

Cite this dataset

Deng, Yuqi; Reinhart, Robert MG; Choi, Inyong; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G (2019). Causal links between parietal alpha activity and spatial auditory attention [Dataset]. Dryad.


Both visual and auditory spatial selective attention result in lateralized alpha (8-14 Hz) oscillatory power in parietal cortex: alpha increases in the hemisphere ipsilateral to attentional focus. Brain stimulation studies suggest a causal relationship between parietal alpha and suppression of the representation of contralateral visual space. However, there is no evidence that parietal alpha controls auditory spatial attention. Here, we performed high definition transcranial alternating current stimulation (HD-tACS) on human subjects performing an auditory task in which they directed attention based on either spatial or nonspatial features. Alpha (10 Hz) but not theta (6 Hz) HD-tACS of right parietal cortex interfered with attending left but not right auditory space. Parietal stimulation had no effect for nonspatial auditory attention. Moreover, performance in post-stimulation trials returned rapidly to baseline. These results demonstrate a causal, frequency-, hemispheric-, and task-specific effect of parietal alpha brain stimulation on top-down control of auditory spatial attention.

Usage notes


National Cancer Institute, Award: R01 MH-114877

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Award: R01 DC015988

Office of Naval Research, Award: N000141812069