Human alpha rhythms during visual delayed choice reaction time tasks: A magnetoencephalography study

Claudio Babiloni, Fabio Babiloni, Filippo Carducci, Febo Cincotti, Claudio Del Percio, Stefania Della Penna, Raffaella Franciotti, Sandro Pignotti, Vittorio Pizzella, Paolo Maria Rossini, Elisabetta Sabatini, Kathya Torquati, Gian Luca Romani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetoencephalography (MEG) includes fast and comfortable recording procedures very suitable for the neurophysiological study of cognitive functions in aged people. In this exploratory MEG study in normal young adults, we tested whether very simple short-term memory (STM) demands induce visible changes in amplitude and latency of surface α rhythms. Two delayed response tasks were used. In the STM condition, a simple cue stimulus (one bit) was memorized along a brief delay period (3.5-5.5 s). In the control (no short-term memory; NSTM) condition, the cue stimulus remained available along the delay period. To make extremely simple the tasks, the explicit demand was visuospatial but the retention could be also based on phonological and somatomotor coding. Compared to the control condition, the amplitude of the α 1 (6-8 Hz) ERD decreased in the left hemisphere, whereas the amplitude of the α 2 (8-10 Hz) and α 3 (10-12 Hz) event-related desynchronization (ERD) increased in right and left parietal areas, respectively. Furthermore, the latency of the α ERD peak was slightly but significantly (P <0.05) later in STM compared to control condition. In conclusion, whole-head MEG technology and very simple STM demands revealed significant changes of human neuromagnetic α rhythms in normal young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • α rhythm
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Delayed response tasks
  • Event-related desynchronization
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Short-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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