Electrical activity at high gamma frequencies (70–170 Hz) is thought to reflect the activity of small cortical ensembles. For example, high gamma activity (often quantified by spectral power) can increase in sensory-motor cortex in response to sensory stimuli or movement. On the other hand, synchrony of neural activity between cortical areas (often quantified by coherence) has been hypothesized as an important mechanism for inter-areal communication, thereby serving functional roles in cognition and behavior. Currently, high gamma activity has primarily been studied as a local amplitude phenomenon. We investigated the synchronization of high gamma activity within sensory-motor cortex and the extent to which underlying high gamma activity can explain coherence during motor tasks. We characterized high gamma coherence in sensory-motor networks and the relationship between coherence and power by analyzing electrocorticography (ECoG) data from human subjects as they performed a motor response to sensory cues. We found greatly increased high gamma coherence during the motor response compared with the sensory cue. High gamma power poorly predicted high gamma coherence, but the two shared a similar time course. However, high gamma coherence persisted longer than high gamma power. The results of this study suggest that high gamma coherence is a physiologically distinct phenomenon during a sensory-motor task, the emergence of which may require active task participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-639
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • coherence
  • electrocorticography
  • high gamma activity
  • motor cortex
  • sensory cortex


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