Disentangling neocortical alpha/beta and hippocampal theta/gamma oscillations in human episodic memory formation

Griffiths, B. J., Martín-Buro, M. C., Staresina, B. P. and Hanslmayr, S. (2021) Disentangling neocortical alpha/beta and hippocampal theta/gamma oscillations in human episodic memory formation. NeuroImage, 242, 118454. (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118454) (PMID:34358658)

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To form an episodic memory, we must first process a vast amount of sensory information about the to-be-encoded event and then bind these sensory representations together to form a coherent memory trace. While these two cognitive capabilities are thought to have two distinct neural origins, with neocortical alpha/beta oscillations supporting information representation and hippocampal theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling supporting mnemonic binding, evidence for a dissociation between these two neural markers is conspicuously absent. To address this, seventeen human participants completed an associative memory task that first involved processing information about three sequentially-presented stimuli, and then binding these stimuli together into a coherent memory trace, all the while undergoing MEG recordings. We found that decreases in neocortical alpha/beta power during sequence perception, but not mnemonic binding, correlated with enhanced memory performance. Hippocampal theta/gamma phase-amplitude coupling, however, showed the opposite pattern; increases during mnemonic binding (but not sequence perception) correlated with enhanced memory performance. These results demonstrate that memory-related decreases in neocortical alpha/beta power and memory-related increases in hippocampal theta/gamma phase-amplitude coupling arise at distinct stages of the memory formation process. We speculate that this temporal dissociation reflects a functional dissociation in which neocortical alpha/beta oscillations could support the processing of incoming information relevant to the memory, while hippocampal theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling could support the binding of this information into a coherent memory trace.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hanslmayr, Professor Simon
Creator Roles:
Hanslmayr, S.Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing, Supervision, Funding acquisition
Authors: Griffiths, B. J., Martín-Buro, M. C., Staresina, B. P., and Hanslmayr, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:NeuroImage
ISSN (Online):1095-9572
Published Online:04 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc.
First Published:First published in NeuroImage 242: 118454
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
313261Neural oscillations - a code for memorySimon HanslmayrEuropean Commission (EC)N/ANP - Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi)
314597TIME - GLUING CROSS-MODAL MEMORIES VIA SYNCHRONISATIONSimon HanslmayrEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/R010072/2NP - Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi)