Beyond the Status Quo: A Role for Beta Oscillations in Endogenous Content (Re)Activation
SourceeNeuro, 4, (2017), article ENEURO.0170-17.2017
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Neuronal Oscillations
Subject160 000 Neuronal Oscillations
Among the rhythms of the brain, oscillations in the beta frequency range (∼13–30 Hz) have been considered the most enigmatic. Traditionally associated with sensorimotor functions, beta oscillations have recently become more broadly implicated in top-down processing, long-range communication, and preservation of the current brain state. Here, we extend and refine these views based on accumulating new findings of content-specific beta-synchronization during endogenous information processing in working memory (WM) and decision making. We characterize such content-specific beta activity as short-lived, flexible network dynamics supporting the endogenous (re)activation of cortical representations. Specifically, we suggest that beta-mediated ensemble formation within and between cortical areas may awake, rather than merely preserve, an endogenous cognitive set in the service of current task demands. This proposal accommodates key aspects of content-specific beta modulations in monkeys and humans, integrates with timely computational models, and outlines a functional role for beta that fits its transient temporal characteristics.
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