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Neuron. 2013 Dec 4;80(5):1112-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.017.

EEG and MEG: relevance to neuroscience.

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Center of Neuroscience, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Science Park 904, Kamer C3.274, 1098XH Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal. Electronic address:


To understand dynamic cognitive processes, the high time resolution of EEG/MEG is invaluable. EEG/MEG signals can play an important role in providing measures of functional and effective connectivity in the brain. After a brief description of the foundations and basic methodological aspects of EEG/MEG signals, the relevance of the signals to obtain novel insights into the neuronal mechanisms underlying cognitive processes is surveyed, with emphasis on neuronal oscillations (ultra-slow, theta, alpha, beta, gamma, and HFOs) and combinations of oscillations. Three main functional roles of brain oscillations are put in evidence: (1) coding specific information, (2) setting and modulating brain attentional states, and (3) assuring the communication between neuronal populations such that specific dynamic workspaces may be created. The latter form the material core of cognitive functions.

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