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Neural oscillations in memory and navigation


Since the discovery of the scalp-EEG by Hans Berger in the 1920s it has been known that cognitive functioning is accompanied by brain oscillations across a broad range of frequencies. In recent decades, numerous studies have carved out that theta and gamma oscillations are particularly important for memory and navigation. However, the exact mechanisms by which theta and gamma oscillations contribute to the neural implementation of these two important functions remain elusive. Hence, the goal of the proposed workshop is to provide a summary of the current knowledge on neural oscillations during memory and navigation in both humans and animals. Theta oscillations, ripples, and phase precession will be highlighted by our talks.

Hence, in the proposed workshop, we will first provide a general overview of the oscillatory signatures associated with memory and navigation (Michael Kahana), followed by a detailed description of the role of hippocampal and neocortical theta oscillations in these processes (Joshua Jacobs). Next, we will describe how various types of spatial information can be derived from oscillations in the medial temporal lobe (Nora Herweg) and how these mesoscopic neural representations are complemented by single-neuron representations of space (Melina Tsitsiklis, Lukas Kunz). In order to establish sequences of different memory contents, their neural representations have to be temporally connected within the time range of spike-timing depenent plasticity - for which phase precession has been suggested as a powerful candidate (Eric Reifenstein). In order to consolidate representations of space and memory contents, a fine-tuned neural machinery comprising neuronal replay and ripple oscillations is of high importance, which will be discussed in the next two talks (Richard Kempter, Natalie Schieferstein). We will close the workshop with a perspective on how neural oscillations during memory and navigation may be affected by diseases such as epilepsy.