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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.22.541696

EEG resting state alpha dynamics predict individual proneness to auditory hallucinations

H.Honcamp S. X. Duggirala J. Rodino Climent ...+6 S. A. Kotz
Introduction: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a transdiagnostic phenomenon but also occur in the general population. The disposition to experience AVH is considered a continuous expression from non-clinical to clinical hallucination proneness (HP). Currently, little is known about the neurophysiology of the non-clinical HP part of the continuum. AVH might result from a heightened sensitivity to sensory inputs and a decreased ability to differentiate between externally and internally generated input. Resting state (RS) alpha band activity is associated with perceptual sensitivity, attentional shifts, and cognitive control. Accordingly, spontaneous alpha fluctuations might present as a HP correlate. To investigate the time-varying dynamics of alpha band activity, we deployed a novel method for brain state allocation. Methods: We recorded RS electroencephalography (EEG) data from 33 individuals with varying levels of HP but without clinically relevant hallucinations and used a Hidden Semi-Markov Model (HsMM) to identify five recurrent alpha states with unique temporal dynamics and topographies. The states mean duration and occupancy were analyzed as a function of HP. The sources of each state were reconstructed to identify the most active brain areas and their correspondence with known resting state networks. Results: Occupancy and mean duration of a state corresponding to sensorimotor, auditory, and default-mode network (DMN) areas significantly predicted auditory and auditory-verbal HP, but not general HP. The temporal dynamics of all other states did not relate to HP. Conclusion: Alpha brain state sources align with prior results on the role of the alpha in the DMN. The temporal dynamics of alpha might reflect individual differences for attentional biases to internally generated sensory events and altered auditory perceptual sensitivity. Thus, changes in the temporal brain state dynamics of RS alpha oscillations could present as a neural marker of increased vulnerability to auditory hallucinatory experiences.