Brain oscillation and connectivity during a chemistry visual working memory task

Li-Yu Huang, Hsiao-Ching She, Wen-Chi Chou, Ming-Hua Chuang, Jeng-Ren Duann, Tzyy-Ping Jung
International Journal of Psychophysiology 2013, 90 (2): 172-9
Many studies have reported that frontal theta and posterior alpha activities are associated with working memory tasks. However, fewer studies have focused on examining whether or not the frontal alpha or posterior theta can play a role in the working memory task. This study investigates electroencephalography (EEG) dynamics and connectivity among different brain regions' theta and alpha oscillations. The EEG was collected from undergraduate students (n = 64) while they were performing a Sternberg-like working memory task involving chemistry concepts. The results showed that the frontal midline cluster exhibited sustained theta augmentation across the periods of stimulus presentations, maintenance, and probe presentation, suggesting that the frontal midline theta might associate with facilitating the central execute function to maintain information in the working memory. Study of the central parietal and the occipital clusters revealed a sequence of theta augmentation followed by alpha suppression at constant intervals after the onset of stimulus and probe presentations, suggesting that the posterior theta might be associated with sensory processing, theta gating, or stimulus selection. It further suggests that the posterior alpha event-related de-synchronization (ERD) might be linked to direct information flow into and out of the long-term memory (LTM) and precede stimulus recognition. An alternating phasic alpha event-related synchronization (ERS) and ERD following the 1st stimulus and probe presentations were observed at the occipital cluster, in which alpha ERS might be linked to the inhibition of irrelevant information.


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