Send to

Choose Destination
Neuron. 2016 Apr 6;90(1):152-164. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.02.028. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Gamma and Beta Bursts Underlie Working Memory.

Author information

The Picower Institute for Learning & Memory and Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 43 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Animal Physiology, Institute for Neurobiology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.
Computational Brain Science Lab, Dept. Comp. Sci. & Tech, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, 08544, USA.
Contributed equally


Working memory is thought to result from sustained neuron spiking. However, computational models suggest complex dynamics with discrete oscillatory bursts. We analyzed local field potential (LFP) and spiking from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of monkeys performing a working memory task. There were brief bursts of narrow-band gamma oscillations (45-100 Hz), varied in time and frequency, accompanying encoding and re-activation of sensory information. They appeared at a minority of recording sites associated with spiking reflecting the to-be-remembered items. Beta oscillations (20-35 Hz) also occurred in brief, variable bursts but reflected a default state interrupted by encoding and decoding. Only activity of neurons reflecting encoding/decoding correlated with changes in gamma burst rate. Thus, gamma bursts could gate access to, and prevent sensory interference with, working memory. This supports the hypothesis that working memory is manifested by discrete oscillatory dynamics and spiking, not sustained activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center