Models of information transmission in the brain largely rely on firing rate codes. The abundance of oscillatory activity in the brain suggests that information may be also encoded using the phases of ongoing oscillations. Sensory perception, working memory and spatial navigation have been hypothesized to use phase codes, and cross-frequency coordination and phase synchronization between brain areas have been proposed to gate the flow of information. Phase codes generally require the phase of the oscillations to be reset at specific reference points for consistent coding, and coordination between oscillators requires favorable phase resetting characteristics. Recent evidence supports a role for neural oscillations in providing temporal reference windows that allow for correct parsing of phase-coded information.
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