Investigating the role of phase-synchrony during encoding of episodic memories using electrical stimulation

van der Plas, M. , Wang, D., Brittain, J.-S. and Hanslmayr, S. (2020) Investigating the role of phase-synchrony during encoding of episodic memories using electrical stimulation. Cortex, 133, pp. 37-47. (doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.09.006) (PMID:33099074)

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The multi-sensory nature of episodic memories indicates that communication between a multitude of brain areas is required for their effective creation and recollection. Previous studies have suggested that the effectiveness of memory processes depends on theta synchronization (4 Hz) of sensory areas relevant to the memory. This study aimed to manipulate theta synchronization between different sensory areas in order to further test this hypothesis. We intend to entrain visual cortex with 4 Hz alternating current stimulation (tACS), while simultaneously entraining auditory cortex with 4 Hz amplitude-modulated sounds. By entraining these different sensory areas, which pertain to learned audio–visual memory associations, we expect to find that when theta is synchronized across the different sensory areas, the memory performance would be enhanced compared to when theta is not synchronized across the sensory areas. We found no evidence for such an effect in this study. It is unclear whether this is due to an inability of 4 Hz tACS to entrain the visual cortex reliably, or whether sensory entrainment is not the underlying mechanism required for episodic memory.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by a grant from the European Research Council (Consolidator Grant Agreement 647954), and a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/R010072/1) both awarded to S.H. SH is further supported by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hanslmayr, Professor Simon and Wang, Dr Danying and van der Plas, Mr Mircea
Creator Roles:
van der Plas, M.Investigation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Hanslmayr, S.Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Authors: van der Plas, M., Wang, D., Brittain, J.-S., and Hanslmayr, S.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering
Journal Name:Cortex
ISSN (Online):1973-8102
Published Online:29 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Cortex 133: 37-47
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
313261Neural oscillations - a code for memorySimon HanslmayrEuropean Commission (EC)N/ACentre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
314597TIME - GLUING CROSS-MODAL MEMORIES VIA SYNCHRONISATIONSimon HanslmayrEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/R010072/2Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging