Intelligence and working memory systems: evidence of neural efficiency in alpha band ERD.

Brain research. Cognitive brain research

PubMedID: 15183393

Grabner RH, Fink A, Stipacek A, Neuper C, Neubauer AC. Intelligence and working memory systems: evidence of neural efficiency in alpha band ERD. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2004;20(2):212-25.
Starting from the well-established finding that brighter individuals display a more efficient brain function when performing cognitive tasks (i.e., neural efficiency), we investigated the relationship between intelligence and cortical activation in the context of working memory (WM) tasks. Fifty-five male (n=28) and female (n=27) participants worked on (1) a classical forward digit span task demanding only short-term memory (STM), (2) an attention-switching task drawing on the central executive (CE) of WM and (3) a WM task involving both STM storage and CE processes. During performance of these three types of tasks, cortical activation was quantified by the extent of Event-Related Desynchronization (ERD) in the alpha band of the human EEG. Correlational analyses revealed associations between the amount of ERD in the upper alpha band and intelligence in several brain regions. In all tasks, the males were more likely to display the negative intelligence-cortical activation relationship. Furthermore, stronger associations between ERD and intelligence were found for fluid rather than crystallized intelligence. Analyses also point to topographical differences in neural efficiency depending on sex, task type and the associated cognitive subsystems engaged during task performance.