Critical Oscillations Lab
group members
Satu Palva Group — Cognitive Neuroscience
Satu Palva group investigates the functional relevance of neuronal dynamics and large-scale neuronal interactions in human cognition.

In humans, attention, working memory, and consciousness are fundamental cognitive functions, which are serial, introspectively coherent, and have a limited capacity of a few objects. Neuronal processing underlying these cognitive functions is, however, distributed across the brain and over time. The central goal of our group is to understand how local neuronal oscillations, their large-scale interactions and dynamics are related to fundamental cognitive functions. Current theories posit that slow oscillations from delta (1-4 Hz) to alpha (8-14 Hz) bands are related to attentional, executive and control functions, while faster gamma (30+ Hz) band synchronization is related to bottom-up processing of sensory information. We aim to test this framework at the level of large-scale neuronal interactions. Our central hypothesis is that cross-frequency interactions among slow and fast oscillations allow the integration and coordination of neuronal processing across cortical hierarchy.

Both oscillations and behavior also fluctuate in a scale-free manner over several seconds to minutes. This behavior is indicative of critical neuronal dynamics that is thought to enable flexible reconfiguration of behavioral performance and neuronal processing. Our aim is to obtain evidence for this framework and test whether neuronal scaling laws behavior predict scaling laws in behavioral performance.

Many brain diseases are associated with cognitive deficits. We aim to investigate whether aberrant neuronal dynamics and connectivity predict cognitive deficits in neurodevelopmental diseases such as in ADHD and depression.

Our central approaches are to record neuronal activity from human subjects by magneto- and electroencephalography (M/EEG) and from epileptic patients with intracranial EEG (iEEG). We then use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) to test the causal role of identified neuronal activities and interactions in coordinating behavioral performance.

Satu's group members

group member photo
Satu Palva, PhD, Docent, Academy Research Fellow

E-mail: satu.palva(@), Tel: +358 50 4484 742

[TUHAT] [Google Scholar] [LinkedIn] [ORCID]
Postdoctoral researchers
Irina Anurova, PhD Irina obtained her PhD degree at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki under the supervision of Prof. Synnöve Carlson. For her thesis, she investigated spatial and non-spatial auditory processing. After completing her doctoral thesis, she joined Prof. Josef Rauschecker's laboratory at Georgetown University (USA) where she conducted neuroimaging studies in early blind individuals. Irina joined the group in 2016 and participates in an interdisciplinary project focused on neural mechanisms of speech processing.
Kayeon Kim, PhD Kayeon obtained a PhD in Psychology at Seoul National University (2015), South Korea, where she studied single cell activity in V1 and eye movement initiation. She then worked with Catherine Tallon-Baudry (ENS, Paris) as a postdoctoral researcher (2015-2017), investigating correlations between neural spikes and heartbeats. She joined the group in September 2017 and is investigating cross-frequency synchrony in animals and humans with intracranial signals.
[Google Scholar]
Santeri Santeri Rouhinen, PhD Santeri Rouhinen has a doctoral degree in physiology and neuroscience from the University of Helsinki. He is studying visual attention and working memory with MEG and EEG. He is also using TMS-EEG to study brain stimulation.
[TUHAT] [Google Scholar]
Jaana Simola, PhD Jaana completed her PhD in Psychology at Helsinki University in 2011. After that she worked was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Paris VIII and at University of Helsinki 2011-2014. She joined the group in 2015 and is studying scale-free behavioural and neural activity in human MEG data in resting state and executive function tasks.
[TUHAT] [Google Scholar] [LinkedIn]
PhD students
Hanna Hanna Julku, MSc Hanna has a master's degree in physiology from the University of Helsinki (2014). She joined the group in 2012 to study amblyopic patients and their visual processing as her master's thesis project. She started her PhD studies in 2014 and continues to investigate differences in visual processing between amblyopic patients and healthy controls.
Felix Felix Siebenhühner, MSc Felix obtained his MSc in physics at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany. He then worked as a research assistant with Danielle Bassett in Santa Barbara, USA, where he studied abnormal neuronal synchrony in schizophrenia.
He joined our group in 2012 as a doctoral student and has been investigating cross-frequency synchrony in human MEG and SEEG data in resting state and visual working memory.
[TUHAT] [Google Scholar] [LinkedIn]
Hamed Hamed Haque, MSc Hamed has a BSc in psychology from International Islamic University Malaysia and an MSc in cognitive neuroscience from the University of York.
He joined as a doctoral student in 2015 and investigating the neural correlates and mechanisms of visual perception and visual working memory using EEG and MEG.
[TUHAT] [LinkedIn]