Gamma Oscillations Underlie the Maintenance of Feature-Specific Information and the Contents of Visual Working Memory

Roosa Sirola, Santeri Rouhinen, Sheng Wang, Matias Palva, Satu Palva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Visual working memory (VWM) sustains information online as integrated object representations. Neuronal mechanisms supporting the maintenance of feature-specific information have remained unidentified. Synchronized oscillations in the gamma band (30–120 Hz) characterizeVWMretention and predict task performance, but whether these oscillations are specific to memorized features andVWMcontents or underlie general executiveVWMfunctions is not known. In the present study, we investigated whether gamma oscillations reflect the maintenance of feature-specific information in VWM. Concurrent magneto- and electroencephalography was recorded while subjects memorized different object features or feature conjunctions in identical VWM experiments. Using a data-driven source analysis approach, we show that the strength, loaddependence, and source topographies of gamma oscillations in the visual cortex differentiate these memorized features. Loaddependence of gamma oscillations in feature-specific visual and prefrontal areas also predicts VWM accuracy. Furthermore,corroborating the hypothesis that gamma oscillations support the perceptual binding of feature-specific neuronal assemblies, we also show that VWM for color–location conjunctions is associated with stronger gamma oscillations than that for these features separately. Gamma oscillations hence support the maintenance of feature-specific information and reflect VWM
contents. The results also suggest that gamma oscillations contribute to feature binding in the formation of memory representations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3788-3801
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 3112 Neurosciences
  • 3124 Neurology and psychiatry

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