Beta Oscillatory Dynamics in the Prefrontal and Superior Temporal Cortices Predict Spatial Working Memory Performance

Amy L. Proskovec, Alex I. Wiesman, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The oscillatory dynamics serving spatial working memory (SWM), and how such dynamics relate to performance, are poorly understood. To address these topics, the present study recruited 22 healthy adults to perform a SWM task during magnetoencephalography (MEG). The resulting MEG data were transformed into the time-frequency domain, and significant oscillatory responses were imaged using a beamformer. Voxel time series data were extracted from the cluster peaks to quantify the dynamics, while whole-brain partial correlation maps were computed to identify regions where oscillatory strength varied with accuracy on the SWM task. The results indicated transient theta oscillations in spatially distinct subregions of the prefrontal cortices at the onset of encoding and maintenance, which may underlie selection of goal-relevant information. Additionally, strong and persistent decreases in alpha and beta oscillations were observed throughout encoding and maintenance in parietal, temporal, and occipital regions, which could serve sustained attention and maintenance processes during SWM performance. The neuro-behavioral correlations revealed that beta activity within left dorsolateral prefrontal control regions and bilateral superior temporal integration regions was negatively correlated with SWM accuracy. Notably, this is the first study to employ a whole-brain approach to significantly link neural oscillations to behavioral performance in the context of SWM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8488
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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