FEF-controlled alpha delay activity precedes stimulus-induced gamma-band activity in visual cortex

Tzvetan Popov, Sabine Kastner, Ole Jensen

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Recent findings in the visual system of non-human primates have demonstrated an important role of gamma band activity (40 – 100Hz) in the feed-forward flow of sensory information, whereas feedback control appears to be dynamically established by oscillations in the alpha (8 -13Hz) and beta bands (13 – 18 Hz) (van Kerkoerle et al., 2014; Bastos et al., 2015). It is not clear, however, how alpha oscillations are controlled and how they interact with the flow of visual information mediated by gamma band activity. Using non-invasive human magnetoencephalographic recordings in subjects performing a visuo-spatial attention task, we show that fluctuations in alpha power during a delay period in a spatial attention task preceded subsequent stimulus-driven gamma band activity. Importantly, these interactions correlated with behavioural performance. Using a Granger analysis we further show that the right frontal-eye field (rFEF) exerted feedback control of the visual alpha oscillations. Our findings suggest that alpha oscillations controlled by the FEF route cortical information flow by modulating gamma band activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4117-4127
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number15
Early online date17 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2017


  • alpha gamma oscillations
  • executive control
  • Flanker task
  • functional connectivity
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • prefrontal control


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