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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 9;95(12):7092-6.

Synchronization between prefrontal and posterior association cortex during human working memory.

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  • 1Institut für Neurophysiologie, Universität Wien, Währingerstrasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria.


We measured coherence between the electroencephalogram at different scalp sites while human subjects performed delayed response tasks. The tasks required the retention of either verbalizable strings of characters or abstract line drawings. In both types of tasks, a significant enhancement in coherence in the theta range (4-7 Hz) was found between prefrontal and posterior electrodes during 4-s retention intervals. During 6-s perception intervals, far fewer increases in theta coherence were found. Also in other frequency bands, coherence increased; however, the patterns of enhancement made a relevance for working memory processes seem unlikely. Our results suggest that working memory involves synchronization between prefrontal and posterior association cortex by phase-locked, low frequency (4-7 Hz) brain activity.

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