A rapid theta network mechanism for flexible information encoding.

Johnson, EL, Lin JJ, King-Stephens D, Weber PB, Laxer KD, Saez I, Girgis F, D'Esposito M, Knight RT, Badre D.  2023.  A rapid theta network mechanism for flexible information encoding., 2023 May 19. Nature communications. 14(1):2872.


Flexible behavior requires gating mechanisms that encode only task-relevant information in working memory. Extant literature supports a theoretical division of labor whereby lateral frontoparietal interactions underlie information maintenance and the striatum enacts the gate. Here, we reveal neocortical gating mechanisms in intracranial EEG patients by identifying rapid, within-trial changes in regional and inter-regional activities that predict subsequent behavioral outputs. Results first demonstrate information accumulation mechanisms that extend prior fMRI (i.e., regional high-frequency activity) and EEG evidence (inter-regional theta synchrony) of distributed neocortical networks in working memory. Second, results demonstrate that rapid changes in theta synchrony, reflected in changing patterns of default mode network connectivity, support filtering. Graph theoretical analyses further linked filtering in task-relevant information and filtering out irrelevant information to dorsal and ventral attention networks, respectively. Results establish a rapid neocortical theta network mechanism for flexible information encoding, a role previously attributed to the striatum.