DOI: 10.1101/502716Dec 20, 2018Paper

Midfrontal theta phase coordinates behaviorally relevant brain computations during cognitive control

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Joan DuprezMichael X Cohen

Abstract

Neural oscillations are thought to provide a cyclic time frame for orchestrating brain computations. Following this assumption, midfrontal theta oscillations have recently been proposed to temporally organize brain computations during conflict processing. Using a multivariate analysis approach, we show that brain-behavior relationships during conflict tasks are modulated according to the phase of ongoing endogenous midfrontal theta oscillations recorded by scalp EEG. We found reproducible results in two independent datasets, using two different conflict tasks: brain-behavior relationships (correlation between reaction time and theta power) were theta phase-dependent in a subject-specific manner, and these 'behaviorally optimal' theta phases were also associated with fronto-parietal cross-frequency dynamics emerging as theta phase-locked beta power bursts. These results provide empirical evidence that midfrontal theta oscillations are involved in cyclically orchestrating brain computations during conflict processing. More generally, this study supports the hypothesis that phase-based computations is an important mechanism giving rise to cognitive processing.

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