Gamma oscillatory amplitude encodes stimulus intensity in primary somatosensory cortex

H.E. Rossiter, S.F. Worthen, C. Witton, S.D. Hall, P.L. Furlong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma oscillations have previously been linked to pain perception and it has been hypothesised that they may have a potential role in encoding pain intensity. Stimulus response experiments have reported an increase in activity in the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) with increasing stimulus intensity, but the specific role of oscillatory dynamics in this change in activation remains unclear. In this study, Magnetoencephalography (MEG) was used to investigate the changes in cortical oscillations during 4 different intensities of a train of electrical stimuli to the right index finger, ranging from low sensation to strong pain. In those participants showing changes in evoked oscillatory gamma in SI during stimulation, the strength of the gamma power was found to increase with increasing stimulus intensity at both pain and sub-pain thresholds. These results suggest that evoked gamma oscillations in SI are not specific to pain but may have a role in encoding somatosensory stimulus intensity. © 2013 Rossiter, Worthen, Witton, Hall and Furlong.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue number362
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Rossiter, Worthen, Witton, Hall and Furlong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.


  • electrical
  • gamma
  • pain
  • primary somatosensory cortex
  • stimulus intensity


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