Dimensional complexity and power spectral measures of the EEG during functional versus predicative problem solving

Matthias Mölle*, Inge Schwank, Lisa Marshall, Anke Klöhn, Jan Born

*Corresponding author for this work
14 Citations (Scopus)


Electroencephalograms were recorded in 22 men while solving tasks of visual-pattern completion and during mental relaxation. They were primed (by foregoing trials) to solve these tasks either in a predicative or functional mode of thinking. Predicative thinking required that in order to complete the pattern the subject had to get involved with the logic of the static structure of the pattern and therefore had to recognize the recurrence of certain features of the elements (e.g., shape, color, and size). Functional thinking required involvement in a dynamic reading of the logic of the pattern and therefore to search for operations and actions to be performed on the pattern elements (e.g., pushing, mirroring, and rotating). The EEG complexity during predicative thinking decreased in comparison to functional thinking and mental relaxation, with this reduction being most pronounced over the right parietal cortex. A reduction in dimensional complexity during functional thinking as compared to mental relaxation, which was concentrated over the left central cortex, although significant, was less clear. The reduced EEG complexity during predicative thought, dominant over the right hemisphere, could reflect increased competitive inhibition among respective cortical neuron assemblies in association with the visual analysis of static element features, converging upon those predicates relevant for the solution. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)547-563
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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