Congrats to Pieter V et al. for their paper in Journal of Neuroscience. Everyday life requires flexibility in switching between several rules. A key question in understanding this ability is how the brain mechanistically coordinates such switches. The current study tests a recent computational framework (Sync model) that proposed how midfrontal theta oscillations coordinate activity in hierarchically lower task-related areas. In line with predictions of this Sync model, midfrontal theta power was stronger when rule switches were most likely (strong negative prediction error), especially in subjects who obtained a better model fit. Additionally, also theta phase connectivity between midfrontal and task-related areas was increased after negative feedback. Thus, the data provided support for the hypothesis that the brain uses theta power and synchronization for flexibly switching between rules.
- Verbeke, P., Ergo, K., De Loof, E., & Verguts, T. (2021). Learning to synchronize: Midfrontal theta dynamics during rule switching. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(7), 1516-1528. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1874-20.2020