Dorsal and ventral cortices are coupled by cross-frequency interactions during working memory

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Oscillatory activity in the alpha and gamma bands is considered key in shaping functional brain architecture. Power increases in the high-frequency gamma band are typically reported in parallel to decreases in the low-frequency alpha band. However, their functional significance and in particular their interactions are not well understood. The present study shows that, in the context of an N-back working memory task, alpha power decreases in the dorsal visual stream are related to gamma power increases in early visual areas. Granger causality analysis revealed directed interregional interactions from dorsal to ventral stream areas, in accordance with task demands. Present results reveal a robust, behaviorally relevant, and architectonically decisive power-to-power relationship between alpha and gamma activity. This relationship suggests that anatomically distant power fluctuations in oscillatory activity can link cerebral network dynamics on trial-by-trial basis during cognitive operations such as working memory.HighlightsAlpha power decrease relates to gamma power increase during working memory.Anatomically distant brain areas are functionally coupled by cross-frequency power-power interactions.Granger causality analysis reveals feed forward communication from visual brain areas at theta frequency.Top-down communication manifest at alpha frequencies from parietal to visual and ventral regions.

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