ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 802-816.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.00802

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Modulating working memory related-oscillation via entrainment of neural oscillation

WANG Xinlin, QIU Xiaoyue, WENG Xuchu, YANG Ping()   

  1. Institute for Brain Research and Rehabilitation, South China Normal University; Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science; Center for Studies of Psychological Application; Key Laboratory of Brain, Cognition and Education Sciences, Ministry of Education; Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2020-12-10 Online:2022-04-15 Published:2022-02-22
  • Contact: YANG Ping


The study of the neural oscillation mechanism of working memory (WM) is one of the current research hotspots in the field of memory. Previous studies have provided abundant evidence for the relationship between working memory process and brain oscillation by magnetoencephalography (MEG)/ electroencephalography (EEG). However, that naturally invites a question: it is yet not clear whether neural oscillations are only a concomitant phenomenon in the WM process, or if they are directly involved in and can help regulating the WM processing. Several studies have found that brain neural oscillatory activity could be driven by external rhythmic stimuli and gradually synchronizes with the phase of external rhythmic stimuli via a phenomenon known as "neural oscillatory entrainment". Based on this, a lot of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) intervention studies conducted by modulating neural oscillatory activity provided more direct causal evidence of the relationship between neural oscillatory activity and working memory processing. We reviewed the rTMS/tACS studied on the field of human working memory which provided the casual evidence between the working memory processing (such as encoding, retention and retrieval) and neural oscillatory activity in specific frequency bands, phase-amplitude synchronization and phase synchronization between brain regions. Future studies may look into modulating multiple brain nodes underlying WM by a network approach via rTMS/tACS. Besides, to improve the effectiveness and repeatability of rTMS/tACS intervention, new research in the field should also clarify how to effectively apply rTMS/tACS intervention, supplemented with objective EEG recording to monitor the neural oscillation entrainment.

Key words: working memory, oscillation entrainment, rTMS, tACS

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