Quantifying fast optical signal and event-related potential relationships during a visual oddball task

Publication date: September 2018
Source:NeuroImage, Volume 178
Author(s): Nicole Proulx, Ali-Akbar Samadani, Tom Chau
Event-related potentials (ERPs) have previously been used to confirm the existence of the fast optical signal (FOS) but validation methods have mainly been limited to exploring the temporal correspondence of FOS peaks to those of ERPs. The purpose of this study was to systematically quantify the relationship between FOS and ERP responses to a visual oddball task in both time and frequency domains. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) sensors were co-located over the prefrontal cortex while participants performed a visual oddball task. Fifteen participants completed 2 data collection sessions each, where they were instructed to keep a mental count of oddball images. The oddball condition produced a positive ERP at 200 ms followed by a negativity 300–500 ms after image onset in the frontal electrodes. In contrast to previous FOS studies, a FOS response was identified only in DC intensity signals and not in phase delay signals. A decrease in DC intensity was found 150–250 ms after oddball image onset with a 400-trial average in 10 of 15 participants. The latency of the positive 200 ms ERP and the FOS DC intensity decrease were significantly correlated for only 6 (out of 15) participants due to the low signal-to-noise ratio of the FOS response. Coherence values between the FOS and ERP oddball responses were found to be significant in the 3–5 Hz frequency band for 10 participants. A significant Granger causal influence of the ERP on the FOS oddball response was uncovered in the 2–6 Hz frequency band for 7 participants. Collectively, our findings suggest that, for a majority of participants, the ERP and the DC intensity signal of the FOS are spectrally coherent, specifically in narrow frequency bands previously associated with event-related oscillations in the prefrontal cortex. However, these electro-optical relationships were only found in a subset of participants. Further research on enhancing the quality of the event-related FOS signal is required before it can be practically exploited in applications such as brain-computer interfacing.