ABSTRACT: Selective Entrainment of Theta Oscillations in the Dorsal Stream Causally Enhances Auditory Working Memory Performance
The implication of the dorsal stream in manipulating auditory information in working memory has been recently established. However, the oscillatory dynamics within this network and its causal relationship with behavior remain undefined. Using simultaneous MEG/EEG, we show that theta oscillations in the dorsal stream predict participants’ manipulation abilities during memory retention in a task requiring the comparison of two patterns differing in temporal order. We investigated the causal relationship between brain oscillations and behavior by applying theta-rhythmic TMS combined with EEG over the MEG-identified target (left intraparietal sulcus) during the silent interval between the two stimuli. Rhythmic TMS entrained theta oscillation and boosted participants’ accuracy. TMS-induced oscillatory entrainment scaled with behavioral enhancement, and both gains varied with participants’ baseline abilities. These effects were not seen for a melody-comparison control task and were not observed for arrhythmic TMS. These data establish theta activity in the dorsal stream as causally related to memory manipulation.