Recent evidence suggests that both spatiotemporally distinct and overlapping brain regions are involved in bottom-up- and top-down-driven attentional processing. However, existing studies are based on a variety of different approaches, including electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), raising the question of how EEG and fMRI findings in this field are related to each other. The present study aimed at disentangling common from specific regions underlying bottom-up novelty-processing and top-down target-processing. Simultaneous EEG and fMRI recordings were employed to investigate how fMRI-identified brain regions contribute to event-related potential (ERP) signatures of novelty- and target-processing. Fourteen subjects performed a modified novelty oddball task in which either rare tones or novel sounds served as targets in different blocks, allowing us to separate novelty-related from mere distractor-related effects. ERP signatures of novelty- and target-processing could be identified, confirming previous research based on recordings outside the scanner. fMRI analyses revealed that, despite considerable overlap of regions activated during novelty- and target-processing, bilateral superior temporal and right inferior frontal areas showed pronounced activation related to novelty-processing. fMRI-informed ERP dipole seeding was used to integrate both signals. The source modeling results further implicated temporal and inferior frontal sources in novelty-processing. Target-related fMRI activation on the other hand was confirmed in a network comprising distributed frontoparietal regions as well as bilateral caudate nucleus and cerebellum. Most regions identified by fMRI showed a contribution to target-related ERP signatures. This pattern of findings underscores the potential of simultaneous EEG/fMRI recordings for the spatiotemporal characterization of target- and novelty-processing.
Strobel, A., Debener, S., Sorger, B., Peters, J. C., Kranczioch, C., Hoechstetter, K., Engel, A. K., Brocke, B., & Goebel, R. (2008). Novelty and target processing during an auditory novelty oddball: A simultaneous event-related potential and functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroimage, 40(2), 869-883. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.10.065