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EEG alpha synchronization is related to top-down processing in convergent and divergent thinking.

Benedek M, Bergner S, Könen T, Fink A, Neubauer AC - Neuropsychologia (2011)

Bottom Line: Synchronization of EEG alpha activity has been referred to as being indicative of cortical idling, but according to more recent evidence it has also been associated with active internal processing and creative thinking.We conclude that frontal alpha synchronization is related to top-down control rather than to specific creativity-related cognitive processes.Frontal alpha synchronization, which has been observed in a variety of different creativity tasks, thus may not reflect a brain state that is specific for creative cognition but can probably be attributed to high internal processing demands which are typically involved in creative thinking.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria. mathias.benedek@uni-graz.at

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Above: Task description of the convergent and divergent thinking task. Below: Trial sequence for the two experimental conditions, where the stimulus once becomes masked after 500 ms (high internal processing demands) and once remains visible throughout the task (low internal processing demands).
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fig0005: Above: Task description of the convergent and divergent thinking task. Below: Trial sequence for the two experimental conditions, where the stimulus once becomes masked after 500 ms (high internal processing demands) and once remains visible throughout the task (low internal processing demands).

Mentions: Both tasks were presented in two experimental conditions: In the low internal processing (LIP) condition, the stimuli were kept visible on screen thus allowing the participants to process the stimulus characters during the entire task in a bottom-up manner. In contrast, in the high internal processing (HIP) condition, stimuli were presented for 500 ms and then masked by “XXXX”. This supraliminal stimulus presentation is sufficiently long to allow for encoding of the meaningful stimulus word, but it was found to be too short for solving the task, as shown in a pre-experimental pilot test with 18 students who did not take part in the EEG study. The latter experimental condition is assumed to require comparatively high internal processing demands, as the problem has to be solved without further bottom-up processing of the stimulus. As soon as the participants came up with a response they had to press a button and then were prompted to vocalize the response. Responses were recorded, and after each EEG session transliterated. The timeout duration per trial was set to 30 s (see Fig. 1). Both tasks used exactly the same stimulus set, with half of the items (10 items) being randomly assigned to the LIP and the other half to the HIP condition. The tasks thus did not differ in stimulus complexity.


EEG alpha synchronization is related to top-down processing in convergent and divergent thinking.

Benedek M, Bergner S, Könen T, Fink A, Neubauer AC - Neuropsychologia (2011)

Above: Task description of the convergent and divergent thinking task. Below: Trial sequence for the two experimental conditions, where the stimulus once becomes masked after 500 ms (high internal processing demands) and once remains visible throughout the task (low internal processing demands).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198250&req=5

fig0005: Above: Task description of the convergent and divergent thinking task. Below: Trial sequence for the two experimental conditions, where the stimulus once becomes masked after 500 ms (high internal processing demands) and once remains visible throughout the task (low internal processing demands).
Mentions: Both tasks were presented in two experimental conditions: In the low internal processing (LIP) condition, the stimuli were kept visible on screen thus allowing the participants to process the stimulus characters during the entire task in a bottom-up manner. In contrast, in the high internal processing (HIP) condition, stimuli were presented for 500 ms and then masked by “XXXX”. This supraliminal stimulus presentation is sufficiently long to allow for encoding of the meaningful stimulus word, but it was found to be too short for solving the task, as shown in a pre-experimental pilot test with 18 students who did not take part in the EEG study. The latter experimental condition is assumed to require comparatively high internal processing demands, as the problem has to be solved without further bottom-up processing of the stimulus. As soon as the participants came up with a response they had to press a button and then were prompted to vocalize the response. Responses were recorded, and after each EEG session transliterated. The timeout duration per trial was set to 30 s (see Fig. 1). Both tasks used exactly the same stimulus set, with half of the items (10 items) being randomly assigned to the LIP and the other half to the HIP condition. The tasks thus did not differ in stimulus complexity.

Bottom Line: Synchronization of EEG alpha activity has been referred to as being indicative of cortical idling, but according to more recent evidence it has also been associated with active internal processing and creative thinking.We conclude that frontal alpha synchronization is related to top-down control rather than to specific creativity-related cognitive processes.Frontal alpha synchronization, which has been observed in a variety of different creativity tasks, thus may not reflect a brain state that is specific for creative cognition but can probably be attributed to high internal processing demands which are typically involved in creative thinking.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria. mathias.benedek@uni-graz.at

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus