Genetic influences on phase synchrony of brain oscillations supporting response inhibition

Viktor Müller, Andrey P. Anokhin, Ulman Lindenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations is a fundamental mechanism underlying cognitive processing and behavior, including context-dependent response production and inhibition. Abnormalities in neural synchrony can lead to abnormal information processing and contribute to cognitive and behavioral deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders. However, little is known about genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in cortical oscillatory dynamics underlying response inhibition. This study examined heritability of event-related phase synchronization of brain oscillations in 302 young female twins including 94 MZ and 57 DZ pairs performing a cued Go/No-Go version of the Continuous Performance Test (CPT). We used the Phase Locking Index (PLI) to assess inter-trial phase clustering (synchrony) in several frequency bands in two time intervals after stimulus onset (0–300 and 301–600 ms). Response inhibition (i.e., successful response suppression in No-Go trials) was characterized by a transient increase in phase synchronization of delta- and theta-band oscillations in the fronto-central midline region. Genetic analysis showed significant heritability of the phase locking measures related to response inhibition, with 30 to 49% of inter-individual variability being accounted for by genetic factors. This is the first study providing evidence for heritability of task-related neural synchrony. The present results suggest that PLI can serve as an indicator of genetically transmitted individual differences in neural substrates of response inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
StatePublished - May 1 2017


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