Mnemonic and attentional roles for states of attenuated alpha oscillations in perceptual working memory: a review

Freek van Ede
2017 European Journal of Neuroscience  
Alpha oscillations are often reported to be amplified during working memory (WM) retention, serving to disengage sensory areas to protect internal representations from external interference. At the same time, contemporary views of WM postulate that sensory areas may often also be recruited for retention. I here review recent evidence that during such 'perceptual' WM, alpha oscillations in mnemonically relevant sensory areas are not amplified but attenuated instead. I will argue that such
more » ... ue that such attenuated alpha states serve a mnemonic role and, further, that larger attenuation may support item-specific attentional prioritisation within perceptual WM. In critically evaluating this role, I also consider (and argue against) four alternatives to a strictly mnemonic account of the available data that may also prove useful to consider in future research. Finally, I highlight key implications of these data for the study of WM and for our understanding of the functional roles of states of attenuated alpha oscillations in cognition.
doi:10.1111/ejn.13759 pmid:29068095 fatcat:kfqdomkv2jfofgvkzlevukc3vi