neural oscillatory activity is known to play a crucial role in brain function. in the particular domain of visual perception, specific frequency bands in different brain regions and networks, from sensory areas to large-scale frontoparietal systems, have been associated with distinct aspects of visual behavior. nonetheless, their contributions to human visual cognition remain to be causally demonstrated. we hereby used non-uniform (and thus non-frequency-specific) and uniform (frequency-specific) high-beta and gamma patterns of noninvasive neurostimulation over the right frontal eye field (fef) to isolate the behavioral effects of oscillation frequency and provide causal evidence that distinct visual behavioral outcomes could be modulated by frequency-specific activity emerging from a single cortical region. in a visual detection task using near-threshold targets, high-beta frequency enhanced perceptual sensitivity (d’) without changing response criterion (beta), whereas gamma frequency shifted response criterion but showed no effects on perceptual sensitivity. the lack of behavioral modulations by non-frequency-specific patterns demonstrates that these behavioral effects were specifically driven by burst frequency. we hypothesize that such frequency-coded behavioral impact of oscillatory activity may reflect a general brain mechanism to multiplex functions within the same neural substrate. furthermore, pathological conditions involving impaired cerebral oscillations could potentially benefit in the near future from the use of neurostimulation to restore the characteristic oscillatory patterns of healthy systems.
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