Nancy Kopell

Center for BioDynamics

Boston University

Rhythms, Cell Assemblies and Binding in the Nervous System: From Physiology to Function

It has been known for a long time that the brain can produce rhythmic patterns of electrical activity, and that these can be associated with cognitive activity. However, it remains controversial whether these rhythms participate in cognition, or simply reflect processes that happen during cognition. To make the case that rhythms are functionally important, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms by which the rhythms alter processing in the nervous system. This line of research is still in its infancy, but there is enough to see how such arguments might work. This talk focuses on the gamma (35 -90 Hz) and beta (12-30 Hz) frequency bands, using models to show how the differences in physiology underlying at least some versions of those brain rhythms have different and complementary properties with respect to the creation and interaction of cell assemblies, providing a framework for understanding a variety of data.



Borgers C, Epstein S, Kopell NJ (2008) Gamma oscillations mediate stimulus competition and attentional selection in a cortical network model. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:18023-8


Roopun AK, Kramer MA, Carracedo LM, Kaiser M, Davies CH, Traub RD, Kopell NJ, Whittington MA (2008) Temporal interactions between cortical rhythms. Front Neurosci 2:145-54