Gamma oscillations, now widely regarded as functionally relevant signals of the brain, illustrate that the concept of event-related oscillations bridges the gap between single neurons and neural assemblies. Taking this concept further, we review experiments showing that oscillatory phenomena such as alpha, theta, or delta responses to events are strongly interwoven with sensory and cognitive functions. This review argues that selectively distributed delta, theta, alpha, and gamma oscillatory systems act as resonant communication networks through large populations of neurons. Thus, oscillatory processes might play a major role in relation with memory and integrative functions. A new 'neurons-brain' doctrine is also proposed to extend the neuron doctrine of Sherrington. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.