Gaussian Behavior of the Electroencephalogram: Changes during Performance of Mental Task

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Science  18 Apr 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3877, pp. 328-331
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3877.328


The probability distribution of the amplitude of scalp electroencephalogram has been investigated in an adult subject in the idle state, and during performance of a mental arithmetic task. Based on a large sample, the electroencephalogram in this subject in the idle state follows a Gaussian (normal) probability function 66 percent of the time. During performance of the arithmetic task, the portion of Gaussian electroencephalogram decreases to 32 percent. The probability function characterizing gross electroencephalographic activity is determined by the degree of mutual interaction of individual cellular generators of wave activity in the tissue underneath the recording electrode. The data imply an increase in the cooperative activity of cortical neuronal elements during performance of a mental task.

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