A framework for local cortical oscillation patterns

Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 May;15(5):191-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.03.007. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


Oscillations are a pervasive feature of neuronal activity in the cerebral cortex. Here, we propose a framework for understanding local cortical oscillation patterns in cognition: two classes of network interactions underlying two classes of cognitive functions produce different local oscillation patterns. Local excitatory-inhibitory interactions shape neuronal representations of sensory, motor and cognitive variables, and produce local gamma-band oscillations. By contrast, the linkage of such representations by integrative functions such as decision-making is mediated by long-range cortical interactions, which yield more diverse local oscillation patterns often involving the beta range. This framework reconciles different cortical oscillation patterns observed in recent studies and helps to understand the link between cortical oscillations and the fMRI signal. Our framework highlights the notion that cortical oscillations index the specific circuit-level mechanisms of cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology