Gating of human theta oscillations by a working memory task.
Electrode grids on the cortical surface of epileptic patients provide a unique opportunity to observe brain activity with high temporal-spatial resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio during a cognitive task. Previous work showed that large-amplitude theta frequency oscillations occurred intermittently during a maze navigation task, but it was unclear whether theta related to the spatial or working memory components of the task. To determine whether theta occurs during a nonspatial task, we made recordings while subjects performed the Sternberg working memory task. Our results show event-related theta and reveal a new phenomenon, the cognitive "gating" of a brain oscillation: at many cortical sites, the amplitude of theta oscillations increased dramatically at the start of the trial, continued through all phases of the trial, including the delay period, and decreased sharply at the end. Gating could be seen in individual trials and varying the duration of the trial systematically varied the period of gating. These results suggest that theta oscillations could have an important role in organizing multi-item working memory.
SciCrunch is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to scicrunch, however this is not currently a free service.