Examining Alpha Peak Frequency and its Relationship to Sustained Attention and Memory.
Collins, Cassandra C.
- While fluctuations in sustained attention can negatively impact immediate behavioral performance, the relationship between periods of inattention (e.g., mind wandering) and later memory is currently unclear. The current study used EEG to examine whether the peak of an individual’s posterior alpha rhythm, as measured by Individual Alpha Frequency (IAF), can serve as an objective marker of inattenti... read moreon that predicts individual differences in long-term memory. IAF was measured during five-minutes of rest (IAF-rest) and during an incidental face-encoding task (IAF-task). We then investigated the relationship between these IAF measures and participants’ (1) attentional states, as measured by objective (behavioral) and subjective (self-report) measures of inattention, and (2) subsequent memory performance. IAF was stable over time between rest and task performance, in support of past literature demonstrating IAF as a stable neurophysiological trait marker. Both IAF-rest and IAF-task correlated with fluctuations in participants’ attentional state, as quantified by an objective measure of response omissions, such that participants with faster alpha oscillations demonstrated fewer response omissions. In addition, IAF-task positively correlated with subsequent memory performance, such that participants with faster alpha oscillations during encoding demonstrated better memory retrieval. Taken together, these results confirm the stability of IAF over time and suggest that individuals with higher IAF values may be better prepared to attend to incoming information and later remember it.read less