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Title:Spontaneous alpha oscillations and low-frequency activities are related to complementary aspects of cognitive control
Author(s):Clements, Grace M.
Advisor(s):Fabiani, Monica
Contributor(s):Gratton, Gabriele
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
alpha power
theta bursts
1/f slope
cognitive control
proactive control
reactive control
flanker task
Abstract:Two classes of activity dominate the resting-state human EEG power spectrum: alpha oscillations (which tend to be sustained), and low-frequency activities (which manifest themselves as short bursts of theta or non-oscillatory 1/f slope). Alpha power at rest has been shown to decrease with age and to correlate with intelligence. Here we propose that alpha facilitates proactive control, which requires the maintenance of processing sets in preparation for expected task conditions. In contrast, bursts of theta activity have been related to reactive control, which requires the update of task sets in response to unpredicted task demands. Less is known about 1/f slope in relation to cognitive control. To investigate these relationships, we recorded resting eyes-open and eyes-closed EEG from younger and older adults and subsequently tested their performance on a cued flanker task, expected to elicit both proactive and reactive control processes. Alpha power and 1/f slope were smaller in older adults, whereas theta power did not show age effects. Resting alpha power was predictive of cue utilization to prepare for the upcoming response stimulus, suggesting its relevance to proactive control. In contrast, both larger theta and 1/f slope were related to a larger congruency effect (slower responses to stimuli flanked by distractors). This suggests that resting theta and 1/f indicate greater trait-like sensitivity to distraction, reflected in frequent spontaneous updating operations. All predictive associations were present over and above the effect of age, suggesting that these EEG correlates could be used as measures of individual differences in cognitive control behavior.
Issue Date:2019-12-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Grace Clements
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-03-02
Date Deposited:2019-12

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