Psychologische Forschung

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 85–99 | Cite as

Power spectral density changes in the EEG during mental arithmetic and eye-opening

  • A. Glass
  • A. W. Kwiatkowski


The effect of mental arithmetic (standard multiplication, with eyes closed) and eye-opening on the power spectral density of the EEG (recorded bipolarly from occipital and parietal regions) have been compared. The EEG was recorded on magnetic tape from normal subjects, (medical students) in a constant environment and subsequently analysed by an analogue computer (Noratom Instrument for Statistical Analysis and Computation, ISAC).

Absolute measurements made from 15 subjects with eyes closed have shown that peaks of power at 10 Hz vary from 9 to 46 μV2 per Hz. Qualitatively, suppression of power at 10 Hz is greater due to eye-opening than mental arithmetic.

Analysis of pooled power spectral density functions from 11 subjects showed that the effect of eye-opening differed significantly from the effect of mental arithmetic at 2.5 and 12.5 Hz. Suppression of lower frequency alpha activity was more pronounced during calculation than during eye-opening. Compared with the eyes closed condition, eye-opening showed a highly significant suppression at 10 and 12.5 Hz (alpha activity) and from 15 to 25 Hz (beta activity). Mental arithmetic induced significant suppression at 7.5 and 10 Hz and from 15 to 30 Hz. Eye-opening enhanced lower frequency activity which calculation suppressed.

Variation was greater between first, second and third calculations in pooled power spectral densities than between corresponding eye-opening epochs. It is suggested that these differences in effects of eye-opening and mental arithmetic reflect differences in underlying cerebral activity, rather than that an underlying factor common to both effects may be orbital in origin.


Medical Student Power Spectral Density Significant Suppression Analogue Computer Frequency Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Glass
    • 1
  • A. W. Kwiatkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Anatomy and Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of BirminghamEngland

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