Beta-band oscillations--signalling the status quo?

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Apr;20(2):156-65. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.02.015. Epub 2010 Mar 30.


In this review, we consider the potential functional role of beta-band oscillations, which at present is not yet well understood. We discuss evidence from recent studies on top-down mechanisms involved in cognitive processing, on the motor system and on the pathophysiology of movement disorders that suggest a unifying hypothesis: beta-band activity seems related to the maintenance of the current sensorimotor or cognitive state. We hypothesize that beta oscillations and/or coupling in the beta-band are expressed more strongly if the maintenance of the status quo is intended or predicted, than if a change is expected. Moreover, we suggest that pathological enhancement of beta-band activity is likely to result in an abnormal persistence of the status quo and a deterioration of flexible behavioural and cognitive control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta Rhythm*
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Periodicity
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology