Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2, 229-239 (April 2001) | doi:10.1038/35067550

The brainweb: Phase synchronization and large-scale integration

Francisco Varela1, Jean-Philippe Lachaux1, Eugenio Rodriguez2 & Jacques Martinerie1  About the authors


The emergence of a unified cognitive moment relies on the coordination of scattered mosaics of functionally specialized brain regions. Here we review the mechanisms of large-scale integration that counterbalance the distributed anatomical and functional organization of brain activity to enable the emergence of coherent behaviour and cognition. Although the mechanisms involved in large-scale integration are still largely unknown, we argue that the most plausible candidate is the formation of dynamic links mediated by synchrony over multiple frequency bands.

Author affiliations

  1. Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives et Imagerie Cérébrale, Hôpital de la Salpétrière, Paris 47 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France. Email:
  2. Escuela de Psicología, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.