Electrophysiological Correlates of Cognitive Activity, Event Related Slow-Potentials Developed during Solution of Anagrams
Technical rept. 1 Apr-30 Sep 1978
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES BEHAVIORAL TECHNOLOGY LABS
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Electroencephalographic EEG activity and time to solution were recorded for sixteen human subjects during a task requiring the solution of five letter anagrams. Solution achievement was signaled by depressing a microswitch. The sixty stimulus anagrams were selected from lists of abstractness and usage frequency to form four stimulus groups 1 concretehigh frequency 2 concretelow frequency 3 abstracthigh frequency 4 abstractlow frequency. Stimulus words were presented to subjects in a randomized order interspersed with a non-anagram recognition word TANGO or a blank screen BLANK. Stimulus presentation was under computer control and displayed upon a computer CRT. Solution time was subjected to an analysis of variance. Abstractness and frequency were both significant. Abstractness had the greater effect upon solution time. There were no interaction effects. Concrete low abstractness anagrams were solved more quickly than abstract anagrams, with the effect of frequency of usage additive to solution times. This result was concluded to support, but not to confirm a parallel processing hypothesis conscious processing concerned with anagram letter rearrangement, and simultaneous unconscious processing concerned with retrieval of possible solution words from long term memory.