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Test–retest reliability of brain oscillations in a prepulse inhibition and facilitation paradigm: effects of gender in healthy humans

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There is a growing interest in assessing the reliability of electroencephalographic (EEG) measures in clinical and research settings. Prepulse inhibition (PPI: representing attentional modulation) and facilitation (PPF: reflecting selective attention) paradigms have been used to study inhibitory function and selective attention, respectively. However, to date, little has been known with regards to the stability of brain oscillatory activity during PPI and PPF. We investigated the stability of event-related EEG oscillations during PPI and PPF in healthy humans over two monthly sessions. Power spectral densities were analysed at traditional frequency bands (delta, alpha, beta sub-bands, and gamma). We assessed test–retest reliability by calculating intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs, absolute agreement definition) and examined potential effects of gender. The results showed good-to-excellent reproducibility of EEG power (both in PPI and PPF) over all frequency bands (ICCs > 0.75), except for delta (ICCs < 0.75), with alpha exhibiting the highest repeatability performance. In addition, females showed reduced reliability compared to males in both PPI and PPF, possibly attributed to menstrual cycle phase across our female participants. Overall, our findings suggest that brain oscillatory activity can be test–retest reliable, while gender needs to be controlled with caution. Finally, event-related EEG oscillations during both PPI and PPF could provide a complementary tool to study psychopathology in clinical practice.

Keywords: electroencephalographic oscillations; gender; intraclass correlation; prepulse facilitation; prepulse inhibition; test–retest reliability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ,

Publication date: July 3, 2020

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