Dr. Bradley Voytek abstract (August 12 Symposium)

Dr Brad Voytek, UCSD

What is a neural oscillation?

Perception, action, and cognition depend upon coordinated neural activity. This coordination operates within noisy, distributed neural networks, which themselves change with development, learning, and disease. Extensive field potential and EEG research shows that neural oscillations interact with neuronal spiking. This interaction has been proposed to be a mechanism for implementing dynamic coordination between brain regions, placing oscillations at the fore of neuroscience research. In this talk I challenge our definition of a neural oscillation, beginning from basic theory, modeling, and analysis approaches that may conflate aperiodic non-oscillatory activity with periodic oscillations. I then present a breadth of empirical data, spanning human iPSC-derived cortical organoids, animal electrophysiology, invasive human EEG, and large-scale data mining. I show that, while not all things that appear oscillatory are, the physiological information we can extract from the local field potential and EEG may nevertheless be far richer than previously thought.