Preparatory distributed cortical synchronization determines execution of some, but not all, future intentions

Justin B. Knight, Richard L. Marsh, Gene Brewer, Brett A. Clementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Associating intentions to events that cue future behaviors is a central aspect of human cognition. There is limited understanding of the neural dynamics supporting recognition of intention-related events, with little known about how pre-event brain state varies as a function of intention specificity. Prior to recognized events (that cued planned behavior) occurring during an unrelated activity, we found increased steady-state visual evoked potential (ssVEP) and intrinsic gamma synchronization for ill- compared to well-specified events, as measured by EEG. Enhanced fronto-temporo-parietal ssVEP synchrony emerged preceding ill compared to well-specified events, and the degree of synchrony predicted the completion of ill-specified intentions but predicted failure to complete well-specified intentions. Distinct executive processing and neural states are therefore optimal for anticipating and fulfilling future intentions varying in event specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1167
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cognitive control
  • Gamma
  • Oscillatory synchrony
  • Prospective memory
  • Steady-state visual evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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