Alpha-gamma phase amplitude coupling subserves information transfer during perceptual sequence learning

Elinor Tzvi*, Leon J. Bauhaus, Till U. Kessler, Matthias Liebrand, Malte Wöstmann, Ulrike M. Krämer

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Cross-frequency coupling is suggested to serve transfer of information between wide-spread neuronal assemblies and has been shown to underlie many cognitive functions including learning and memory. In previous work, we found that alpha (8–13 Hz) – gamma (30–48 Hz) phase amplitude coupling (αγPAC) is decreased during sequence learning in bilateral frontal cortex and right parietal cortex. We interpreted this to reflect decreased demands for visuo-motor mapping once the sequence has been encoded. In the present study, we put this hypothesis to the test by adding a “simple” condition to the standard serial reaction time task (SRTT) with minimal needs for visuo-motor mapping. The standard SRTT in our paradigm entailed a perceptual sequence allowing for implicit learning of a sequence of colors with randomly assigned motor responses. Sequence learning in this case was thus not associated with reduced demands for visuo-motor mapping. Analysis of oscillatory power revealed a learning-related alpha decrease pointing to a stronger recruitment of occipito-parietal areas when encoding the perceptual sequence. Replicating our previous findings but in contrast to our hypothesis, αγPAC was decreased in sequence compared to random trials over right frontal and parietal cortex. It also tended to be smaller compared to trials requiring a simple motor sequence. We additionally analyzed αγPAC in resting-state data of a separate cohort. PAC in electrodes over right parietal cortex was significantly stronger compared to sequence trials and tended to be higher compared to simple and random trials of the SRTT data. We suggest that αγPAC in right parietal cortex reflects a “default-mode” brain state, which gets perturbed to allow for encoding of visual regularities into memory.

ZeitschriftNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Seiten (von - bis)107-117
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.03.2018

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Gehirn, Hormone, Verhalten - Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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