Functional roles of alpha-band phase synchronization in local and large-scale cortical networks

Palva, S. and Palva, J. M. (2011) Functional roles of alpha-band phase synchronization in local and large-scale cortical networks. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 204. (doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00204) (PMID:21922012) (PMCID:PMC3166799)

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Alpha-frequency band (8–14 Hz) oscillations are among the most salient phenomena in human electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and yet their functional roles have remained unclear. Much of research on alpha oscillations in human EEG has focused on peri-stimulus amplitude dynamics, which phenomenologically support an idea of alpha oscillations being negatively correlated with local cortical excitability and having a role in the suppression of task-irrelevant neuronal processing. This kind of an inhibitory role for alpha oscillations is also supported by several functional magnetic resonance imaging and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation studies. Nevertheless, investigations of local and inter-areal alpha phase dynamics suggest that the alpha-frequency band rhythmicity may play a role also in active task-relevant neuronal processing. These data imply that inter-areal alpha phase synchronization could support attentional, executive, and contextual functions. In this review, we outline evidence supporting different views on the roles of alpha oscillations in cortical networks and unresolved issues that should be addressed to resolve or reconcile these apparently contrasting hypotheses.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This is an open-access article subject to a nonexclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Palva, Professor Satu and Palva, Professor Matias
Authors: Palva, S., and Palva, J. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):1664-1078
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Palva and Palva
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Psychology 2:204
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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