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Miguel Ángel Guevara Pérez, Ph.D.

Electroencephalographic Correlation and Behavior Laboratory

Laboratory director: Dr. Miguel Ángel Guevara Pérez
e-mail: mguevara@cencar.udg.mx, maguevara@yahoo.com

Like behavior, all complex motivational-emotional and cognitive processes have a neural substrate that underlies the functioning of the different cerebral structures and circuits involved. Cerebral activity results from the ionic, neurochemical and hormonal mechanisms that determine electrical activity which can be recorded through electrodes placed either intra-cerebrally (seldom used in humans) or on the scalp that permit the recording of electroencephalographic activity (EEG). This technique is characterized by high temporal resolution that has proven most useful both in the area of basic research and in clinical medicine, since it allows physicians to determine how cerebral functioning changes in a precise temporal relation to behaviors and specific physiological states. Analyses of this activity provides information not only on changes in the amplitude and phase of the EEG waves, but also on the degree of EEG coupling between two cerebral zones or structures. One of the brain areas most clearly involved in modulating executive processes and motivated states is the prefrontal cortex with its multiple connections to other cortical areas, so that by using electroencephalographic techniques and correlation analysis, the Electroencephalographic Correlation and Behavior Laboratory studies: a) in humans, cerebral functionality during performance of cognitive tasks, especially related to planning and working memory; and, b) in rats, the possible role played by the prefrontal cortex in motivated processes, especially in relation to sexual motivation.

The principal research areas pursued in this Laboratory are:
1) The automated analysis of electroencephalographic signals using correlation techniques.
2) The participation of the prefrontal cortex in motivated processes.

Most of the research projects undertaken in this Laboratory involve humans, but work with rats is also conducted. The studies performed with humans tend to focus on cerebral functionality, particularly of the prefrontal cortex and its dorsolateral and frontopolar regions, during executive functions and under specific motivational-emotional conditions; for example, researchers have evaluated the influence of erotic visual stimulation on electroencephalographic activity during performance of neuropsychological tasks that require the participation of the prefrontal cortex, and electroencephalographic changes in a precise temporal relation to gradual increases in blood alcohol levels. Most such studies are designed to determine inter-hemispheric (i.e., between prefrontal zones) and intra-hemispheric (i.e., between prefrontal and posterior zones in the same cerebral hemisphere) electroencephalographic correlations. In rats, research has involved studying whether the degree of prefrontal medial coupling changes in relation to the acquisition of learning and memory, utilizing sexual reward as the reinforcer. Parallel to the projects that tend to follow closely the aforementioned research areas in this Laboratory, the development of several computer programs for the automated analysis of electroencephalographic signals and the application of neuropsychological tests has been conducted.