To better understand the brain and to develop potential therapies, neuroscientists from Brown University have been investigating the role of beta frequency brainwaves in attending to and detecting sensory stimuli. In a study involving both rodent and human participants, the scientists looked into the impact of the pre-stimulus beta waves generated in the sensorimotor cortex, on the perception of the stimulus.
A trial-to-trial investigation of the characteristics of the beta rhythm and their relationship with the sensory stimulus, revealed that:
- Increased pre-stimulus beta power impairs stimulus attention and perception
- The higher the number of pre-stimulus 20Hz beta bursts, the less likely is that both humans and mice would detect the consequent sensory stimulation
- The closer the temporal proximity of the most recent beta burst to the stimulus, the poorer its detection
- Beta does not occur rhythmically but in task dependent modulated bursts
Here is the link to the Brown University News article