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Auditory cortical alpha/beta desynchronization prioritizes the representation of memory items during a retention period

  1. Nathan Weisz  Is a corresponding author
  2. Nadine Gabriele Kraft
  3. Gianpaolo Demarchi  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Salzburg, Austria
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55508 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55508

Abstract

To-be-memorized information in working-memory could be protected against distracting influences by processes of functional inhibition or prioritization. Modulations of oscillations in the alpha to beta range in task-relevant sensory regions have been suggested to play an important role for both mechanisms. We adapted a Sternberg task variant to the auditory modality, with a strong or a weak distracting sound presented at a predictable time during the retention period. Using a time-generalized decoding approach relatively decreased strength of memorized information was found prior to strong distractors, paralleled by decreased pre-distractor alpha / beta power in the left superior temporal gyrus (lSTG). Over the entire group, reduced beta power in lSTG was associated with relatively increased strength of memorized information. The extent of alpha power modulations within participants was negatively correlated strength of memorized information. Overall our results are compatible with a prioritization account, however point to nuanced differences between alpha and beta oscillations.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Nathan Weisz

    Department of Psychology and Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
    For correspondence
    nathan.weisz@sbg.ac.at
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7816-0037
  2. Nadine Gabriele Kraft

    Department of Psychology and Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2818-2283
  3. Gianpaolo Demarchi

    Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
    For correspondence
    gianpaolo.demarchi@sbg.ac.at
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7597-9298

Funding

The authors declare that there was no funding for this work.

Ethics

Human subjects: The study was conducted according to the declaration of Helsinki (7th revision). Written informed consent was obtained from each participant prior to the experiment. All procedures were approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Salzburg (EK-GZ:22/2016a).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Timothy D Griffiths, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: January 27, 2020
  2. Accepted: May 5, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 7, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: May 21, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Weisz et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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