Neuronal Oscillations

The main goal of the 'Neuronal Oscillations' research group is to understand how oscillatory activity shapes the functional architecture of the working brain during cognitive processing.

While modulations alpha band oscillations (8-13 Hz) reflect anticipatory top-down modulation, bottom-up processing is reflected by gamma band synchronization (30-100 Hz). Specifically, the core hypothesize states that neuronal communication is gated by the inhibition of task-irrelevant regions, thus routing information to task-relevant regions. The functional inhibition is reflected by alpha band oscillations.

From a physiological perspective, the alpha oscillations provide pulsed inhibition reducing the processing capabilities of a given area. Active processing is achieved by neuronal synchronization in the gamma band which is phasically modulated by the alpha oscillations. According to this framework the brain can be studied as a network by investigating cross-frequency interactions between gamma and alpha activity.

The research tools applied by the group include computational modeling, MEG, EEG combined with fMRI, EEG combined with TMS and intracranial recordings. These tools are applied to investigate and interpret data from humans and animals performing attention and memory tasks.

Key grants and prizes

  • Mid-Career Achievement Award for Ole Jensen, 13th International Conference on Biomagnetism (2012)
  • Transcranial brain stimulation investigations on the role of oscillatory phase in neuronal processing. Program: Open Competition, NWO, ALW (2012)
  • Bridging the gap between neuronal activity and neuroimaging: a physiologically realistic model. Program: NWO, Open Competition, ALW (2011)
  • Pharmacological modulation of alpha and gamma oscillations: implications for working memory maintenance. Program: NWO, Open Competition, MaGW (2010)
  • How the functional architecture of the working brain is shaped by oscillatory brain activity. Program: VICI, NWO, MaGW (2010)

Key publications

  • Spaak, E., Bonnefond, M., Maier, A., Leopold, D.A..and Jensen, O. (2012) Layer-specific entrainment of gamma-band neural activity by the alpha rhythm in monkey visual cortex. Curr Biol 22:2313-2318
  • Bonnefond, M. and Jensen, O. (2012) Anticipatory adjustment of power and phase of alpha oscillations protects working memory maintenance against distracters. Curr Biol 22:1969-1974.
  • Jensen, O., Bonnefond, M., and VanRullen, R. (2012) An oscillatory mechanism for prioritizing salient unattended stimuli. Trends Cogn Sci 16:200-206
  • Haegens, S., Nácher, V., Luna, R. Romo, R. and Jensen, O. (2011) Alpha oscillations in the monkey sensorimotor network influence discrimination performance by rhythmical inhibition of neuronal spiking. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:19377-19382.
  • van Dijk, H., Van der Werf, J., Mazaheri, A., Medendorp, W.P., and Jensen, O. (2010) Modulations in oscillatory activity with amplitude asymmetry can produce cognitively relevant event-related responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:900-905.


Research Group
Neuronal Oscillations

Principal Investigator
Prof. Ole Jensen

Group members

Senior researchers
Dr. Mathilde Bonnefond 
Prof. Jan van der Eerden

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dr. Saskia Haegens

PhD students 
Linda Drijvers
Niels ter Huurne
Maarten Leenders
Lisa Luther
Cecilia Mazzetti

Research assistants
Dr. Iske Bakker

MSc and BSc Students

Contact information

Location 024-3610651
Postal address
Postbus 9101