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Neuron. 2015 Oct 7;88(1):220-35. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.034.

Rhythms for Cognition: Communication through Coherence.

Author information

1
Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 EN Nijmegen, Netherlands. Electronic address: pascal.fries@esi-frankfurt.de.

Abstract

I propose that synchronization affects communication between neuronal groups. Gamma-band (30-90 Hz) synchronization modulates excitation rapidly enough that it escapes the following inhibition and activates postsynaptic neurons effectively. Synchronization also ensures that a presynaptic activation pattern arrives at postsynaptic neurons in a temporally coordinated manner. At a postsynaptic neuron, multiple presynaptic groups converge, e.g., representing different stimuli. If a stimulus is selected by attention, its neuronal representation shows stronger and higher-frequency gamma-band synchronization. Thereby, the attended stimulus representation selectively entrains postsynaptic neurons. The entrainment creates sequences of short excitation and longer inhibition that are coordinated between pre- and postsynaptic groups to transmit the attended representation and shut out competing inputs. The predominantly bottom-up-directed gamma-band influences are controlled by predominantly top-down-directed alpha-beta-band (8-20 Hz) influences. Attention itself samples stimuli at a 7-8 Hz theta rhythm. Thus, several rhythms and their interplay render neuronal communication effective, precise, and selective.

PMID:
26447583
PMCID:
PMC4605134
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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