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December 2021

EEG activity during the performance of complex mental problems

Author(s): Jausovec, K.

Journal/Book: Int J Psychophysiol. 2000; 36: PO Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands. Elsevier Science Bv. 73-88.

Abstract: This study investigated differences in cognitive processes related to problem complexity. It was assumed that these differences would be reflected in respondents' EEG activity - spectral power and coherence. A second issue of the study was to compare differences between the lower (alpha(1) = 7.9-10.0 Hz), and upper alpha band (a, = 10.1-12.9 Hz). In the first experiment two well-defined problems with two levels of complexity were used. Only minor differences in EEG power and coherence measures related to problem complexity were observed. In the second experiment divergent production problems resembling tasks on creativity tests were compared with dialectic problems calling for creative solutions. Differences in EEG power measures were mainly related to the form of problem presentation (figural/verbal). In contrast, coherence was related to the level of creativity needed to solve a problem. Noticeable increased intra- and interhemispheric cooperation between mainly the far distant brain regions was observed in the EEG activity of respondents while solving the dialectic problems. These results are explained by the more intense involvement of the long cortico-cortical fiber system in creative thinking. Differences between the lower and upper alpha band were significant for the power and coherence measures. In Experiment 2, fewer differences were observed in power measures in the upper alpha band than in the lower alpha band. A reverse pattern was observed for the coherence measures. These results hint to a functional independence of the two alpha bands, however, they do not allow to draw firm conclusions about their functional meanings. The study showed that it is unlikely that individuals solve well- and ill-defined problems by employing similar cognitive strategies.

Note: Article Jausovec N, Univ Maribor, Pedagoska Fak, Koroska 160, SLO-2000 Maribor, SLOVENIA

Keyword(s): cognitive processes; EEG activity; problem complexity; ALPHA-DESYNCHRONIZATION; COHERENCE ANALYSIS; TOPOGRAPHICAL EEG; MEMORY; SYNCHRONIZATION; ACTIVATION; TASKS; BAND


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