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Nat Neurosci. 2015 Sep;18(9):1318-24. doi: 10.1038/nn.4071. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenance.

Author information

1
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.
2
Division of Neurology, Department of Veterans Affairs, Martinez, California, USA.
3
Department of Neurology, UCSF Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
4
Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
5
Brown Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
6
Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
7
Department of Physiology, UCSF Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
8
Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
9
Stanford Human Intracranial Cognitive Electrophysiology Program (SHICEP), Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
10
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.

Abstract

Humans have a capacity for hierarchical cognitive control-the ability to simultaneously control immediate actions while holding more abstract goals in mind. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence suggests that hierarchical cognitive control emerges from a frontal architecture whereby prefrontal cortex coordinates neural activity in the motor cortices when abstract rules are needed to govern motor outcomes. We utilized the improved temporal resolution of human intracranial electrocorticography to investigate the mechanisms by which frontal cortical oscillatory networks communicate in support of hierarchical cognitive control. Responding according to progressively more abstract rules resulted in greater frontal network theta phase encoding (4-8 Hz) and increased prefrontal local neuronal population activity (high gamma amplitude, 80-150 Hz), which predicts trial-by-trial response times. Theta phase encoding coupled with high gamma amplitude during inter-regional information encoding, suggesting that inter-regional phase encoding is a mechanism for the dynamic instantiation of complex cognitive functions by frontal cortical subnetworks.

PMID:
26214371
PMCID:
PMC4551604
DOI:
10.1038/nn.4071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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