Oscillatory brain activity is attracting increasing interest in cognitive neuroscience. Numerous EEG (magnetoencephalography) and local field potential (LFP) measurements have related cognitive functions to different types of brain oscillations, but the functional significance of these rhythms remains poorly understood. Despite its proven value, LFP activity has not been extensively tested in the macaque lateral intraparietal area (LIP), which has been implicated in a wide variety of cognitive control processes. We recorded action potentials and LFPs in area LIP during delayed eye movement tasks and during a passive fixation task, in which the time schedule was fixed so that temporal expectations about task-relevant cues could be formed. LFP responses in the gamma band discriminated reliably between saccade targets and distractors inside the receptive field (RF). Alpha and beta responses were much less strongly affected by the presence of a saccade target, however, but rose sharply in the waiting period before the go signal. Surprisingly, conditions without visual stimulation of the LIP-RF-evoked robust LFP responses in every frequency band—most prominently in those below 50 Hz—precisely time-locked to the expected time of stimulus onset in the RF. These results indicate that in area LIP, oscillations in the LFP, which reflect synaptic input and local network activity, are tightly coupled to the temporal expectation of task-relevant cues.

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