Neuronal Oscillations and Cognition

We aim to understand the role of neuronal oscillations for cognition in health and disease.

Our thinking of “brain and cognition” is influenced by progress in understanding the role of self-organization in non-linear systems for the emergence and character of complexity in nature. The evidence suggests that many natural systems are attracted to a so-called “critical state”, which is characterized by correlated fluctuations on many spatial and temporal scales. Interestingly, not only are the generic mechanisms of self-organized critical systems present in neuronal networks, but the critical state may also be beneficial for optimal information processing.

Therefore, we explore the framework of criticality to study ongoing neuronal oscillations and cognition. However, is brain and cognition not to be studied in the context of sensory stimuli? Not necessarily. Oscillations come and go — thoughts come and go. In fact, the prevalence of mind wandering in everyday life, and the high heritability of ongoing brain activity and complex cognitive traits, suggest that it is fundamentally important to understand the endogenous variation in brain and cognition. Of note, brain-related disorders tend to impact endogenous cognition more so than sensory processing. These are some of the reasons why we focus on developing experimental paradigms, computational models, and biomarker algorithms to better understand variation in endogenous oscillations and cognition.

Translational Research
We see many possibilities to develop applications of commercial and societal value on the basis of our curiosity-driven and fundamental research. Therefore, we increasingly team up with non-academic partners to bring state-of-the-art neuroscience insight and methods to the market. Entrepreneurship is integrated in the courses we teach and proposals for collaborations with private partners are welcome.

In 2015, we founded the first spin-off company from our group: NBT Analytics BV. We offer M/EEG analysis for clinical trials or signal-processing support for academic research projects. For more information, please visit our website

Diaz BA, van der Sluis S, Moens S, Benjamins JS, Migliorati F, Stoffers D, den Braber A, Poil S-S, Hardstone R, van’t Ent D, Boomsma DI, de Geus E, Mansvelder HD, van Someren EJW, Linkenkaer-Hansen K. The Amsterdam Resting-State Questionnaire reveals multiple Phenotypes of Resting-State Cognition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 7:446. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00446. 2013.

Smit DJA, Linkenkaer-Hansen K*, de Geus EJC*. Long-range temporal correlations in resting-state alpha oscillations predict human timing-error dynamics. The Journal of Neuroscience. 33(27):11212–11220, 2013.

Palva MJ, Zhigalov A, Hirvonen J, Korhonen O, Linkenkaer-Hansen K*, Palva S*. Neuronal long-range temporal correlations and avalanche dynamics are correlated with behavioral scaling laws. PNAS 110(9):3585–3590, 2013.

Poil S-S, Hardstone R, Mansvelder HD, Linkenkaer-Hansen K. Critical-state dynamics of avalanches and oscillations jointly emerge from balanced excitation/inhibition in neuronal networks. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(29):9817–9823, 2012.

Montez T, Poil S-S, Jones B, Manshanden I, Verbunt JPA, van Dijk BW, Brussaard AB, van Ooyen A, Stam CJ, Scheltens P, Linkenkaer-Hansen K. Altered temporal correlations in parietal alpha and prefrontal theta oscillations in early-stage Alzheimer disease. PNAS 106:1614–1619, 2009.