Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Little is known about the relation of alpha rhythms and object recognition. Alpha has been generally proposed to be associated with attention and memory and to be particularly important for the mediation of long-distance communication between neuronal populations. However, how these apply to object recognition is still unclear. This study aimed at describing the spatiotemporal dynamics of alpha rhythms while recognizing fragmented images of objects presented for the first time and presented again 24 hr later. Intracranial electroencephalography was performed in six epileptic patients undergoing presurgical evaluation. Time–frequency analysis revealed a strong alpha activity, mainly of the evoked type, propagating from posterior cerebral areas to anterior regions, which was similar whether the objects were recognized or not. Phase coherence analysis, however, showed clear phase synchronization specific for the moment of recognition. Twenty-four hr later, frontal regions displayed stronger alpha activity and more distributed phase synchronization than when images were presented for the first time. In conclusion, alpha amplitude seems to be related to nonspecific mechanism. Phase coherence analysis suggests a communicational role of alpha activity in object recognition, which may be important for the comparison between bottom–up representations and memory templates.