May 18, 2021

Shaping information processing: the role of oscillatory dynamics in a working-memory task

<p>Neural oscillations are thought to reflect low-level operations that can be employed for higher-level cognitive functions. Here, we investigated the role of brain rhythms in the 1-30 Hz range by recording MEG in participants performing a visual delayed match-to-sample paradigm in which orientation or spatial frequency of sample and probe gratings had to be matched. A cue occurring before or after sample presentation indicated the to-be-matched feature. We demonstrate that alpha/beta power decrease tracks the presentation of the informative cue and indexes faster responses. Moreover, these faster responses coincided with an augmented phase alignment of slow oscillations, as well as phase-amplitude coupling between slow and fast oscillations. Importantly, stimulus decodability was boosted by both low alpha power and high beta power. In summary, we provide support for a comprehensive framework in which different rhythms play specific roles: slow rhythms control input sampling, while alpha (and beta) gates the information flow, beta recruits task-relevant circuits, and the timing of faster oscillations is controlled by slower ones.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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