Title

Attention to External Stimuli During Wakefulness and Sleep: Evoked 40-Hz Response and N350

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2003

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Changes of two components of the auditory event-related potential, the evoked 40-Hz response and the N350, were studied during different stages of wakefulness and sleep. The evoked 40-Hz response has been proposed to represent an attention-modulating mechanism; the N350 seems to reflect an inhibitory process associated with reduced information processing. Because recent literature suggests that both components reflect opposite mechanisms, an inverse relationship was expected. Ten participants were presented with tone pips while reading, lying awake in bed, and during light sleep, slow wave sleep, and REM sleep. A significant evoked 40-Hz response was observed during reading and lying awake in bed. N350 was evident in all conditions and, as expected, peaked during light sleep. The hypothesized inverse relationship was confirmed. These findings support former proposals that relate both components to attention. Possibly, the N350 is most pronounced during the sleep transition period because its inhibitory processes have to prevail over the attentional mechanisms (40-Hz response) to permit sleep onset.

Publication Title

Psychophysiology

Volume

40

Issue

6

First Page

955

Last Page

966