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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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Task-related power (TRP) changes in the upper alpha band during convergent and divergent thinking under low vs. high internal processing (IP) demands. Positive TRP indicates task-related alpha synchronization, negative values indicate desynchronization (AF = anteriofrontal, F = frontal, FC = frontocentral, CT = centrotemporal, CP = centroparietal, PT = parietotemporal, PO = parietooccipital, LH = left hemisphere, RH = right hemisphere).
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fig0010: Task-related power (TRP) changes in the upper alpha band during convergent and divergent thinking under low vs. high internal processing (IP) demands. Positive TRP indicates task-related alpha synchronization, negative values indicate desynchronization (AF = anteriofrontal, F = frontal, FC = frontocentral, CT = centrotemporal, CP = centroparietal, PT = parietotemporal, PO = parietooccipital, LH = left hemisphere, RH = right hemisphere).

Mentions: Most interestingly, there was a highly significant main effect CONDITION (F[1,29] = 26.27, p < .001, partial-η2 = .48), revealing generally stronger alpha-synchronization (or lower alpha-desynchronization, respectively) during task performance under high as compared to low internal processing demands (see Fig. 2). This condition effect was found to be significantly moderated by AREA (CONDITION × AREA: F[6,24] = 5.02, p < .01, partial-η2 = .56), suggesting that the TRP difference between conditions was stronger in parietal and occipital brain areas than in frontal regions of the brain. More specifically, in the LIP condition there was a gradual increase of task-related alpha desynchronization from anterior to posterior brain regions, whereas in the HIP condition alpha synchronization also decreased from anteriofrontal to frontocentral brain areas but the TRP did not further decrease with increasing posteriority but stayed close to zero in parietal and occipital brain regions. This interaction was further moderated by HEMISPHERE (CONDITION × AREA × HEMISPHERE: F[6,24] = 2.83, p < .05, partial-η2 = .41) indicating that the TRP difference between conditions was most pronounced in parietotemporal areas of the right hemisphere. This was especially evident for the divergent thinking task, for which alpha-synchronization was not only observed in frontal but also in right-hemispheric parietotemporal brain regions (see Fig. 2). While the four-way interaction (additionally involving TASK), however, failed to reach statistical significance (p = .66), a follow-up univariate analysis (Greenhouse-Geisser corrected dfs) per task revealed a significant CONDITION × AREA × HEMISPHERE interaction only for the divergent task (F[2.23,64.63] = 7.27, p < .001, partial-η2 = .20) but not for the convergent task (F[3.17,91.83] = 1.15, ns., partial-η2 = .04).


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)

Task-related power (TRP) changes in the upper alpha band during convergent and divergent thinking under low vs. high internal processing (IP) demands. Positive TRP indicates task-related alpha synchronization, negative values indicate desynchronization (AF = anteriofrontal, F = frontal, FC = frontocentral, CT = centrotemporal, CP = centroparietal, PT = parietotemporal, PO = parietooccipital, LH = left hemisphere, RH = right hemisphere).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig0010: Task-related power (TRP) changes in the upper alpha band during convergent and divergent thinking under low vs. high internal processing (IP) demands. Positive TRP indicates task-related alpha synchronization, negative values indicate desynchronization (AF = anteriofrontal, F = frontal, FC = frontocentral, CT = centrotemporal, CP = centroparietal, PT = parietotemporal, PO = parietooccipital, LH = left hemisphere, RH = right hemisphere).
Mentions: Most interestingly, there was a highly significant main effect CONDITION (F[1,29] = 26.27, p < .001, partial-η2 = .48), revealing generally stronger alpha-synchronization (or lower alpha-desynchronization, respectively) during task performance under high as compared to low internal processing demands (see Fig. 2). This condition effect was found to be significantly moderated by AREA (CONDITION × AREA: F[6,24] = 5.02, p < .01, partial-η2 = .56), suggesting that the TRP difference between conditions was stronger in parietal and occipital brain areas than in frontal regions of the brain. More specifically, in the LIP condition there was a gradual increase of task-related alpha desynchronization from anterior to posterior brain regions, whereas in the HIP condition alpha synchronization also decreased from anteriofrontal to frontocentral brain areas but the TRP did not further decrease with increasing posteriority but stayed close to zero in parietal and occipital brain regions. This interaction was further moderated by HEMISPHERE (CONDITION × AREA × HEMISPHERE: F[6,24] = 2.83, p < .05, partial-η2 = .41) indicating that the TRP difference between conditions was most pronounced in parietotemporal areas of the right hemisphere. This was especially evident for the divergent thinking task, for which alpha-synchronization was not only observed in frontal but also in right-hemispheric parietotemporal brain regions (see Fig. 2). While the four-way interaction (additionally involving TASK), however, failed to reach statistical significance (p = .66), a follow-up univariate analysis (Greenhouse-Geisser corrected dfs) per task revealed a significant CONDITION × AREA × HEMISPHERE interaction only for the divergent task (F[2.23,64.63] = 7.27, p < .001, partial-η2 = .20) but not for the convergent task (F[3.17,91.83] = 1.15, ns., partial-η2 = .04).

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