Unraveling how brain regions communicate is crucial for understanding how the brain processes external and internal information. Neuronal oscillations within and across brain regions have been proposed to play a crucial role in this process. Two main hypotheses have been suggested for routing of information based on oscillations, namely the ‘communication through coherence’ and the ‘gating by inhibition’ frameworks. Here, we propose a framework unifying these two hypotheses that is based on recent empirical findings. We discuss a theory in which communication between two regions is established by phase-synchronization of oscillations at lower frequencies (<25Hz), which serve as temporal reference frame for information carried by high frequency activity (>40Hz). Our framework, consistent with numerous recent empirical findings, posits that cross-frequency interactions are essential for understanding how large-scale cognitive and perceptual networks operate.
Significance Statement To understand how the brain operates as a network it is essential to identify the mechanisms supporting communication between brain regions. Based on recent empirical findings, we propose a novel mechanism for selective routing based on cross-frequency coupling between slow oscillations in the alpha and gamma band.
Authors report no conflict of interest.
Ole Jensen and Sabine Kastner acknowledge support from the James S. McDonnell Foundation Understanding Human Cognition Collaborative Award 220020448.