Auditory cortical alpha/beta desynchronization prioritizes the representation of memory items during a retention period

Nathan Weisz, Nadine Gabriele Kraft, Gianpaolo Demarchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To-be-memorized information in working-memory could be protected against distracting influences by processes of functional inhibition or prioritization. Modulations of oscillations in the alpha to beta range in task-relevant sensory regions have been suggested to play an important role for both mechanisms. We adapted a Sternberg task variant to the auditory modality, with a strong or a weak distracting sound presented at a predictable time during the retention period. Using a time-generalized decoding approach relatively decreased strength of memorized information was found prior to strong distractors, paralleled by decreased pre-distractor alpha / beta power in the left superior temporal gyrus (lSTG). Over the entire group, reduced beta power in lSTG was associated with relatively increased strength of memorized information. The extent of alpha power modulations within participants was negatively correlated with strength of memorized information. Overall our results are compatible with a prioritization account, however point to nuanced differences between alpha and beta oscillations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55508
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Weisz et al.

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 501 Psychology
  • 107 Other Natural Sciences

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