Differential Sources for 2 Neural Signatures of Target Detection: An Electrocorticography Study


Electrophysiology and neuroimaging provide conflicting evidence for the neural contributions to target detection. Scalp electroencephalography (EEG) studies localize the P3b event-related potential component mainly to parietal cortex, whereas neuroimaging studies report activations in both frontal and parietal cortices. We addressed this discrepancy by examining the sources that generate the target-detection process using electrocorticography (ECoG). We recorded ECoG activity from cortex in 14 patients undergoing epilepsy monitoring, as they performed an auditory or visual target-detection task. We examined target-related responses in 2 domains: high frequency band (HFB) activity and the P3b. Across tasks, we observed a greater proportion of electrodes that showed target-specific HFB power relative to P3b over frontal cortex, but their proportions over parietal cortex were comparable. Notably, there was minimal overlap in the electrodes that showed target-specific HFB and P3b activity. These results revealed that the target-detection process is characterized by at least 2 different neural markers with distinct cortical distributions. Our findings suggest that separate neural mechanisms are driving the differential patterns of activity observed in scalp EEG and neuroimaging studies, with the P3b reflecting EEG findings and HFB activity reflecting neuroimaging findings, highlighting the notion that target detection is not a unitary phenomenon.