Abstract

Oscillatory activity in human electro- or magnetoencephalogram has been related to cortical stimulus representations and their modulation by cognitive processes. Whereas previous work has focused on gamma-band activity (GBA) during attention or maintenance of representations, there is little evidence for GBA reflecting individual stimulus representations. The present study aimed at identifying stimulus-specific GBA components during auditory spatial short-term memory. A total of 28 adults were assigned to 1 of 2 groups who were presented with only right- or left-lateralized sounds, respectively. In each group, 2 sample stimuli were used which differed in their lateralization angles (15° or 45°) with respect to the midsagittal plane. Statistical probability mapping served to identify spectral amplitude differences between 15° versus 45° stimuli. Distinct GBA components were found for each sample stimulus in different sensors over parieto-occipital cortex contralateral to the side of stimulation peaking during the middle 200–300 ms of the delay phase. The differentiation between “preferred” and “nonpreferred” stimuli during the final 100 ms of the delay phase correlated with task performance. These findings suggest that the observed GBA components reflect the activity of distinct networks tuned to spatial sound features which contribute to the maintenance of task-relevant information in short-term memory.

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