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Investigation of Neuronal Oscillations of the Working Memory by Transcranial Rhythmic Stimulation

Student: Jolly Kanjua

Supervisor: Matteo Feurra

Faculty: Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience

Educational Programme: Cognitive Sciences and Technologies: From Neuron to Cognition (Master)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2020

Working memory performance has been shown to be directly influenced by oscillatory activity and further enhanced by frontoparietal oscillatory synchronization. Although alpha oscillatory activity has been shown to enhance performance of working memory inhibition, functional cortical circuit relating to the working memory process of suppression of distractors has not been studied. Moreover, a causal link has not be demonstrated. The current study applied transcranial alternating current stimulation at 12 Hz over prefrontal (Fz) and parietal cortices (Pz), at the same time, with a relative 00 (synchronized) condition, 1800 (desynchronized) condition phase difference, and a sham stimulation condition, while healthy subjects performed a working memory task with distractor. We showed that externally induced frontoparietal alpha desynchronization significantly improves accuracy of working memory inhibition. Low intensity stimulation, like 12Hz, has been shown to inhibit cortical excitability, and anti-phasic stimulation has been hypothesized to decrease presynaptic activation in one area of the brain while it drives postsynaptic spikes in another area of the brain, thus we suggest that anti-phasic 12 Hz stimulation inhibited the parietal cortex, thereby disinhibiting the frontal cortex. The current study reveals that the frontalparietal working memory network may be modulated with low intensity 12 Hz anti-phase tACS.

Full text (added May 20, 2020)

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