Oscillatory Control over Representational States in Working Memory

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In the visual world, attention is guided by perceptual goals activated in visual working memory (VWM). However, planning multiple-task sequences also requires VWM to store representations for future goals. These future goals need to be prevented from interfering with the current perceptual task. Recent findings have implicated neural oscillations as a control mechanism serving the implementation and switching of different states of prioritization of VWM representations. We review recent evidence that posterior alpha-band oscillations underlie the flexible activation and deactivation of VWM representations and that frontal delta-to-theta-band oscillations play a role in the executive control of this process. That is, frontal delta-to-theta appears to orchestrate posterior alpha through long-range oscillatory networks to flexibly set up and change VWM states during multitask sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-162
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • attentional template
  • executive control
  • frontal delta
  • mid-frontal theta
  • posterior alpha
  • sensory control


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