Spontaneous Alpha and Theta Oscillations Are Related to Complementary Aspects of Cognitive Control in Younger and Older Adults

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 15 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The resting-state human electroencephalogram power spectrum is dominated by alpha and theta oscillations, and also includes non-oscillatory broadband activity inversely related to frequency. Gratton proposed that alpha and theta oscillations are both related to cognitive control function, though in a complementary manner. Alpha activity is hypothesized to facilitate the maintenance of representations, such as task sets in preparation for expected task conditions. In contrast, theta activity would facilitate changes in representations, such as the updating of task sets in response to unpredicted task demands. Therefore, theta should be related to reactive control, while alpha may be more relevant to proactive control. Less is known about the possible relationship between 1/f activity and cognitive control, which was analyzed here in an exploratory fashion. To investigate these hypothesized relationships, we recorded eyes-open and eyes-closed resting-state 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. Results showed that alpha power and 1/f offset were smaller in older than younger adults, whereas theta power did not show age-related reductions. Resting alpha power and 1/f offset were associated with proactive control processes, whereas theta power was related to reactive control as measured by the cued flanker task. All associations were present over and above the effect of age, suggesting that these resting-state EEG correlates could be indicative of trait-like individual differences in cognitive control performance, which may be already evident in younger adults, and are still similarly present in healthy older adults.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,069

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Language and the Development of Cognitive Control.Lucy Cragg & Kate Nation - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):631-642.
Psychophysics of EEG alpha state discrimination.Jon A. Frederick - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (3):1345-1354.


Added to PP

8 (#1,157,597)

6 months
5 (#284,395)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?