Neural microstates govern perception of auditory input without rhythmic structure

Molly J. Henry*, Björn Herrmann, Jonas Obleser

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Human perception fluctuates with the phase of neural oscillations in the presence of environmental rhythmic structure by which neural oscillations become entrained. However, in the absence of predictability afforded by rhythmic structure, we hypothesize that the neural dynamical states associated with optimal psychophysical performance are more complex than what has been described previously for rhythmic stimuli. The current electroencephalography study characterized the brain dynamics associated with optimal detection of gaps embedded in narrow-band acoustic noise stimuli lacking low-frequency rhythmic structure. Optimal gap detection was associated with three spectrotemporally distinct delta-governed neural microstates. Individual microstates were characterized by unique instantaneous combinations of neural phase in the delta, theta, and alpha frequency bands. Critically, gap detection was not predictable from local fluctuations in stimulus acoustics. The current results suggest that, in the absence of rhythmic structure to entrain neural oscillations, good performance hinges on complex neural states that vary from moment to moment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)860-871
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 20.01.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


Dive into the research topics of 'Neural microstates govern perception of auditory input without rhythmic structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this