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Paper in Cognitive Brain Research
  • Kang, K., Williams, L., Hermens, D. and Gordon, E. (2005). Neurophysiological markers of contextual processing: The relationship between P3b and Gamma synchrony and their modulation by arousal, performance and individual differences. Cognitive Brain Research, 25: 472 - 483.

    The ability to identify and respond to significant events in the environment is a vital aspect of human cognition and yet is poorly understood as a dynamic neural process. While the response to a contextually-relevant stimulus involves a number of complimentary processes, including selective attention and neural binding, it is also subject to modulation by factors like arousal, age and sex. Adopting an integrative approach, we investigated contextual processing (as indexed by P3b and Gamma phase synchrony) in 120 healthy subjects performing an auditory oddball task while controlling for these other modulating factors. Results suggest a relationship between P3b and Gamma-2 synchrony in posterior regions only, with phasic anterior processing seemingly unrelated to that in posterior regions. However, only the P3b was significantly correlated to central and autonomic arousal. Further, while age and sex were associated with variation in individual measures, they did not strongly affect the relationship between the measures. We concluded that, in simple contextual processing, global and local elements of target stimuli are processed in parallel with little variation being shown between the sexes or resulting from increasing age.