Neuronal oscillations describe rhythmic patterns of brain activity that are thought to be important for the shaping of neuronal activity and the routing of communication within and between brain areas. Neuronal oscillations are therefore of key interest to researchers at OHBA. In a special issue on this subject, hosted by the European Journal of Neuroscience, OHBA researchers recently contributed two articles.
In the first article, Simone Heideman and colleagues studied neural dynamics of movement preparation in a Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task using MEG. This revealed that anticipatory modulations of 15- 30 Hz beta oscillations – typically linked to motor cortical engagement – are sensitive not only to the anticipated response hand, but also to the anticipated response timing, even when participants remain largely unaware of their temporal expectations.
In the second article, Freek van Ede reviews the literature on the role of 8-12 Hz alpha oscillations in ‘perceptual’ working memory. The review aims to reconcile an apparent discrepancy in the literature whereby alpha goes either up or down during memory retention. Freek proposes that when working memory relies on recruitment of sensory areas, alpha oscillations – which are typically attributed an inhibitory role – decrease in service of the retention and prioritisation of memorised items. However, at other times, working memory may rely on abstraction of information and retention in non-sensory areas and, in these cases, alpha oscillations in sensory areas may become more prominent instead, serving to block potentially distracting sensory inputs.
For Simone’s article see: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ejn.13700/full
For Freek’s article see: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ejn.13759/full