Graph properties of synchronized cortical networks during visual working memory maintenance

Satu Palva*, Simo Monto, J. Matias Palva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Oscillatory synchronization facilitates communication in neuronal networks and is intimately associated with human cognition. Neuronal activity in the human brain can be non-invasively imaged with magneto- (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG), but the large-scale structure of synchronized cortical networks supporting cognitive processing has remained uncharacterized. We combined simultaneous MEG and EEG (MEEG) recordings with minimum-norm-estimate-based inverse modeling to investigate the structure of oscillatory phase synchronized networks that were active during visual working memory (VWM) maintenance. Inter-areal phase-synchrony was quantified as a function of time and frequency by single-trial phase-difference estimates of cortical patches covering the entire cortical surfaces. The resulting networks were characterized with a number of network metrics that were then compared between delta/theta- (3-6 Hz), alpha- (7-13 Hz), beta- (16-25 Hz), and gamma- (30-80 Hz) frequency bands. We found several salient differences between frequency bands. Alpha- and beta-band networks were more clustered and small-world like but had smaller global efficiency than the networks in the delta/theta and gamma bands. Alpha- and beta-band networks also had truncated-power-law degree distributions and high k-core numbers. The data converge on showing that during the VWM-retention period, human cortical alpha- and beta-band networks have a memory-load dependent, scale-free small-world structure with densely connected core-like structures. These data further show that synchronized dynamic networks underlying a specific cognitive state can exhibit distinct frequency-dependent network structures that could support distinct functional roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3257-3268
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroImage
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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