Oscillations in the prefrontal cortex: a gateway to memory and attention

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Jun;21(3):475-85. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


We consider the potential role of oscillations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in mediating attention, working memory and memory consolidation. Activity in the theta, beta, and gamma bands is related to communication between PFC and different brain areas. While gamma/beta oscillations mediate bottom-up and top-down interactions between PFC and visual cortices, related to attention, theta rhythms are engaged by hippocampal/PFC interplay. These interactions are dynamic, depending on the nature and relevance of the information currently being processed. The profound modifications of the PFC neuronal network associated with changes in oscillatory coherence are controlled by neuromodulators such as dopamine, which thereby allow or prevent the formation of cell assemblies for information encoding and storage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*