Front Comput Neurosci
© Copyright © 2020 Tal, Neymotin, Bickel, Lakatos and Schroeder. Even the simplest cognitive processes involve interactions between cortical regions. To study these processes, we usually rely on averaging across several repetitions of a task or across long segments of data to reach a statistically valid conclusion. Neuronal oscillations reflect synchronized excitability fluctuations in ensembles of neurons and can be observed in electrophysiological recordings in the presence or absence of an external stimulus. Oscillatory brain activity has been viewed as sustained increase in power at specific frequency bands. However, this perspective has been challenged in recent years by the notion that oscillations may occur as transient burst-like events that occur in individual trials and may only appear as sustained activity when multiple trials are averaged together. In this review, we examine the idea that oscillatory activity can manifest as a transient burst as well as a sustained increase in power. We discuss the technical challenges involved in the detection and characterization of transient events at the single trial level, the mechanisms that might generate them and the features that can be extracted from these events to study single-trial dynamics of neuronal ensemble activity.
School of Medicine