Apr 28, 2020

Temporal codes of visual working memory in the human cerebral cortex

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Yasuki Noguchi, R. Kakigi

Abstract

Visual working memory (vWM) is an important ability required for various cognitive tasks although its neural underpinnings remain controversial. While many studies have focused on theta (4-7 Hz) and gamma (> 30 Hz) rhythms as a substrate of vWM, here we show that temporal signals embedded in alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) bands can be a good predictor of vWM capacity. Neural activity of healthy human participants was recorded with magnetoencephalography when they performed a classical vWM task (change detection). We analyzed changes in inter-peak intervals (IPIs) of oscillatory signals along with an increase in WM load (a number of to-be-memorized items, 1-6). Results showed a load-dependent reduction of IPIs in the parietal and frontal regions, indicating that alpha/beta rhythms became faster when multiple items were stored in vWM. Furthermore, this reduction in IPIs was positively correlated with individual vWM capacity, especially in the frontal cortex. Those results indicate that vWM is represented as a change in oscillation frequency in the human cerebral cortex.

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