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Journal Article

Rhythms for Cognition: Communication through Coherence

MPS-Authors

Fries,  P.
Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Fries, P. (2015). Rhythms for Cognition: Communication through Coherence. Neuron, 88(1), 220-35. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.034.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-2C78-F
Abstract
I propose that synchronization affects communication between neuronal groups. Gamma-band (30-90 Hz) synchronization modulates excitation rapidly enough that it escapes the following inhibition and activates postsynaptic neurons effectively. Synchronization also ensures that a presynaptic activation pattern arrives at postsynaptic neurons in a temporally coordinated manner. At a postsynaptic neuron, multiple presynaptic groups converge, e.g., representing different stimuli. If a stimulus is selected by attention, its neuronal representation shows stronger and higher-frequency gamma-band synchronization. Thereby, the attended stimulus representation selectively entrains postsynaptic neurons. The entrainment creates sequences of short excitation and longer inhibition that are coordinated between pre- and postsynaptic groups to transmit the attended representation and shut out competing inputs. The predominantly bottom-up-directed gamma-band influences are controlled by predominantly top-down-directed alpha-beta-band (8-20 Hz) influences. Attention itself samples stimuli at a 7-8 Hz theta rhythm. Thus, several rhythms and their interplay render neuronal communication effective, precise, and selective.