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In Frontiers in integrative neuroscience

Learning and memorizing sequences of events is an important function of the human brain and the basis for forming expectations and making predictions. Learning is facilitated by repeating a sequence several times, causing rhythmic appearance of the individual sequence elements. This observation invites to consider the resulting multitude of rhythms as a spectral "fingerprint" which characterizes the respective sequence. Here we explore the implications of this perspective by developing a neurobiologically plausible computational model which captures this "fingerprint" by attuning an ensemble of neural oscillators. In our model, this attuning process is based on a number of oscillatory phenomena that have been observed in electrophysiological recordings of brain activity like synchronization, phase locking, and reset as well as cross-frequency coupling. We compare the learning properties of the model with behavioral results from a study in human participants and observe good agreement of the errors for different levels of complexity of the sequence to be memorized. Finally, we suggest an extension of the model for processing sequences that extend over several sensory modalities.

Maye Alexander, Wang Peng, Daume Jonathan, Hu Xiaolin, Engel Andreas K


crossmodal, frequency tuning, multisensory integration, phase reset, phase-locked loops, prediction