Spontaneous Neural Fluctuations Predict Decisions to Attend
Jesse J. Bengson, Todd A. Kelley, Xiaoke Zhang, Jane-Ling Wang, and George R. Mangun
University of California, Davis
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Posted Online April 16, 2014.
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Ongoing variability in neural signaling is an intrinsic property of the brain. Often this variability is considered to be noise and ignored. However, an alternative view is that this variability is fundamental to perception and cognition and may be particularly important in decision-making. Here, we show that a momentary measure of occipital alpha-band power (8–13 Hz) predicts choices about where human participants will focus spatial attention on a trial-by-trial basis. This finding provides evidence for a mechanistic account of decision-making by demonstrating that ongoing neural activity biases voluntary decisions about where to attend within a given moment.