Several studies on the relationship between event-related desynchronization/synchronization (ERD/ERS) and cognitive performance revealed contradictory results particularly for the alpha band. Studies from our laboratory have shown that good performers show a larger upper alpha ERD (interpreted in terms of larger cortical activation) than bad performers. In contrast, other researchers found evidence for the neural efficiency hypothesis, which states that more intelligent subjects exhibit a smaller extent of cortical activation, which is assumed to be reflected by a smaller upper alpha ERD. Here we address the question whether these divergent results may be due to differences in general task difficulty. Using a modified version of the RAVEN, individually divided into easy and difficult tasks, a group of average and a group of highly intelligent subjects (IQ- and IQ+) have been investigated. While in the theta frequency IQ+ subjects generally exhibited a significantly stronger activation, we found a significant interaction of task difficulty and IQ group in the upper alpha band, indicating both, a weaker activation for the high IQ group during the easy tasks, and a significant increase from easy to difficult tasks for IQ+ only.
- Cortical Synchronization
- Evoked Potentials