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Parietal low beta rhythm provides a dynamical substrate for a working memory buffer

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JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Jun 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Aug 2019
Early online date29/07/19
Original languageEnglish


Working memory (WM) is a component of the brain’s memory systems vital for interpretation of sequential sensory inputs and consequent decision making. Anatomically, WM is highly distributed over the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the parietal cortex (PC). Here we present a biophysically detailed dynamical systems model for a WM buffer situated in the PC, making use of dynamical properties believed to be unique to this area. We show that the natural beta1 rhythm (12 to 20 Hz) of the PC provides a substrate for an episodic buffer that can synergistically combine executive commands (e.g., from PFC) and multimodal information into a flexible and updatable representation of recent sensory inputs. This representation is sensitive to distractors, it allows for a readout mechanism, and it can be readily terminated by executive input. The model provides a demonstration of how information can be usefully stored in the temporal patterns of activity in a neuronal network rather than just synaptic weights between the neurons in that network.

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© 2019, The Author(s).

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