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In recent years, one of the most important findings in systems neuroscience has been the identification of large scale distributed brain networks. These networks support healthy brain function and are perturbed in a number of neurological disorders (e.g. schizophrenia). Their study is therefore an important and evolving focus for neuroscience research. The majority of network studies are conducted using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which relies on changes in blood oxygenation induced by neural activity. However recently, a small number of studies have begun to elucidate the electrical origin of fMRI networks by searching for correlations between neural oscillatory signals from spatially separate brain areas in magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. Here we advance this research area. We introduce two methodological extensions to previous independent component analysis (ICA) approaches to MEG network characterisation: 1) we show how to derive pan-spectral networks that combine independent components computed within individual frequency bands. 2) We show how to measure the temporal evolution of each network with millisecond temporal resolution. We apply our approach to ~10h of MEG data recorded in 28 experimental sessions during 3 separate cognitive tasks showing that a number of networks could be identified and were robust across time, task, subject and recording session. Further, we show that neural oscillations in those networks are modulated by memory load, and task relevance. This study furthers recent findings on electrodynamic brain networks and paves the way for future clinical studies in patients in which abnormal connectivity is thought to underlie core symptoms.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1918 - 1930


Adult, Algorithms, Brain, Cognition, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Electroencephalography, Electrophysiological Phenomena, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Nerve Net, Photic Stimulation, Principal Component Analysis, Psychomotor Performance, Visual Perception