Frequency analysis of the visual steady-state response measured with the fast optical signal in younger and older adults

Chun Yu Tse, Brian A. Gordon, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Relatively high frequency activity (>4. Hz) carries important information about the state of the brain or its response to high frequency events. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is commonly used to study these changes because it possesses high temporal resolution and a good signal-to-noise ratio. However, it provides limited spatial information. Non-invasive fast optical signals (FOS) have been proposed as a neuroimaging tool combining spatial and temporal resolution. Yet, this technique has not been applied to study high frequency brain oscillations because of its relatively low signal-to-noise ratio. Here we investigate the sensitivity of FOS to relatively high-frequency brain oscillations. We measured the steady-state optical response elicited in medial and lateral occipital cortex by checkerboard reversals occurring at 4, 6, and 8. Hz in younger and older adults. Stimulus-dependent oscillations were observed at the predicted stimulation frequency. In addition, in the younger adults the FOS steady-state response was smaller in lateral than medial areas, whereas in the older adults it was reversed in these two cortical regions. This may reflect diminished top-down inhibitory control in the older adults. The results indicate that FOS can be used to study the modulation of relatively high-frequency brain oscillations in adjacent cortical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Aging
  • Fast optical signal (FOS)
  • Frequency analysis
  • The event-related optical signal (EROS)
  • Visual steady state response


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