Nice paper by Bressler and colleagues showing that top-down influences on visual cortex are mediated by beta-band oscillations.

Richter, C. G., Coppola, R., & Bressler, S. L. (2018). Top-down beta oscillatory signaling conveys behavioral context in early visual cortex. Scientific reports, 8(1), 6991.

Further reading on beta oscillations mediating top-down processing:
Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2007) Top-down versus bottom-up control of attention in the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices. Science. 315: 1860-1862  View PDF »

Bastos, A.M., Loonis, R., Kornblith, S., Lundqvist, M., and Miller, E.K. (2018)  Laminar recordings in frontal cortex suggest distinct layers for maintenance and control of working memory.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  View PDF

 

Nice result from Buschman Lab.  Error-correcting dynamics introduce bias into working memory while reducing noise.

Error-correcting dynamics in visual working memory
Matthew F Panichello, Brian DePasquale, Jonathan W Pillow, Timothy Buschman
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/319103

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT award Earl Miller the 2017 Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

 

Earl Miller offers advice on how to avoid multitasking in the May 2018 issue of Redbook.

Life and Family – Redbook May 2018

Press release for our new paper:
A heavy working memory load may sink brainwave ‘synch’

The paper:
Pinotsis, D.A., Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2018) Working Memory Load Modulates Neuronal Coupling. Cerebral Cortex.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy065  View PDF

Pinotsis, D.A., Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2018) Working Memory Load Modulates Neuronal Coupling. Cerebral Cortex, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy065

Abstract: There is a severe limitation in the number of items that can be held in working memory. However, the neurophysiological limits remain unknown. We asked whether the capacity limit might be explained by differences in neuronal coupling. We developed a theoretical model based on Predictive Coding and used it to analyze Cross Spectral Density data from the prefrontal cortex (PFC), frontal eye fields (FEF), and lateral intraparietal area (LIP). Monkeys performed a change detection task. The number of objects that had to be remembered (memory load) was varied (1–3 objects in the same visual hemifield). Changes in memory load changed the connectivity in the PFC–FEF–LIP network. Feedback (top-down) coupling broke down when the number of objects exceeded cognitive capacity. Thus, impaired behavioral performance coincided with a break-down of Prediction signals. This provides new insights into the neuronal underpinnings of cognitive capacity and how coupling in a distributed working memory network is affected by memory load.

Freedman and Ibos give us a new general framework to think about the functions of the parietal cortex.

Freedman, D. J., & Ibos, G. (2018). An Integrative Framework for Sensory, Motor, and Cognitive Functions of the Posterior Parietal CortexNeuron97(6), 1219-1234.

Miller Lab alumnus Jonas Rose compares cognitive capacity across species.  Note that cognitive capacity correlates with intelligence but it is not the same thing.

Balakhonov, D., & Rose, J. (2017). Crows Rival Monkeys in Cognitive Capacity. Scientific reports, 7(1), 8809.

The effects of attention in the brain can be partitioned into changes in sensitivity of in the subject’s criterion.  In visual cortex, only changes in sensitivity are seen.  Here, Luo and Maunsell show that neurons in frontal cortex are sensitive to changes in sensitivity as well as criterion.

Luo, T. Z., & Maunsell, J. H. (2018). Attentional Changes in Either Criterion or Sensitivity Are Associated with Robust Modulations in Lateral Prefrontal Cortex. Neuron.

An article in Science News about new ideas on the role of brain waves.  It also discuss three new papers from the Miller Lab.

Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing  Science New March 13, 2018

Here are the papers that are discussed:

Lundqvist, M., Herman, P. Warden, M.R., Brincat, S.L., and Miller, E.K. (2018) Gamma and beta bursts during working memory read-out suggest roles in its volitional control. Nature Communications. 9, 394   View PDF

Wutz, A., Loonis, R., Roy, J.E., Donoghue, J.A., and Miller, E.K. (2018)  Different levels of category abstraction by different dynamics in different prefrontal areas. Neuron 97: 1-11.  View PDF

Bastos, A.M., Loonis, R., Kornblith, S., Lundqvist, M., and Miller, E.K. (2018)  Laminar recordings in frontal cortex suggest distinct layers for maintenance and control of working memory.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  View PDF