Oscillatory neural activity in the gamma frequency range (>30Hz) has been shown to accompany a wide variety of cognitive processes. So far, there has been limited success in assigning a unitary basic function to these oscillations, and critics have raised the argument that they could just be an epiphenomenon of neural processing. We propose a new framework that relates gamma oscillations observed in human, as well as in animal, experiments to two underlying processes: the comparison of memory contents with stimulus-related information and the utilization of signals derived from this comparison. This model attempts to explain early gamma-band responses in terms of the match between bottom-up and top-down information. Furthermore, it assumes that late gamma-band activity reflects the readout and utilization of the information resulting from this match.