Cognitive functions of gamma-band activity: memory match and utilization

Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Aug;8(8):347-55. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.06.006.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Feedback
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons, Gamma / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / physiology
  • Signal Detection, Psychological
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Receptors, Cholinergic