Modelling neural entrainment and its persistence: influence of frequency of stimulation and phase at the stimulus offsetn example journal article


Neural entrainment, the synchronization of brain oscillations to the frequency of an external stimuli, is a key mechanism that shapes perceptual and cognitive processes. Objective. Using simulations, we investigated the dynamics of neural entrainment, particularly the period following the end of the stimulation, since the persistence (reverberation) of neural entrainment may condition future sensory representations based on predictions about stimulus rhythmicity. Methods. Neural entrainment was assessed using a modified Jansen-Rit neural mass model (NMM) of coupled cortical columns, in which the spectral features of the output resembled that of the electroencephalogram (EEG). We evaluated spectro-temporal features of entrainment as a function of the stimulation frequency, the resonant frequency of the neural populations comprising the NMM, and the coupling strength between cortical columns. Furthermore, we tested if the entrainment persistence depended on the phase of the EEG-like oscillation at the time the stimulus ended. Main Results. The entrainment of the column that received the stimulation was maximum when the frequency of the entrainer was within a narrow range around the resonant frequency of the column. When this occurred, entrainment persisted for several cycles after the stimulus terminated, and the propagation of the entrainment to other columns was facilitated. Propagation also depended on the resonant frequency of the second column, and the coupling strength between columns. The duration of the persistence of the entrainment depended on the phase of the neural oscillation at the time the entrainer terminated, such that falling phases (from π/2 to 3π/2 in a sine function) led to longer persistence than rising phases (from 0 to π/2 and 3π/2 to 2π). Significance. The study bridges between models of neural oscillations and empirical electrophysiology, providing insights to the mechanisms underlying neural entrainment and the use of rhythmic sensory stimulation for neuroenhancement.

Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express