Date of Award

1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Abstract

power spectrum analysis was performed on EEG's from 22 male and 22 female adult subjects under three conditions: 1. Resting; 2. During the first two minutes of the performance of an audit~ry continuous performance task (CPT); 3. During minutes eight through ten of the performance of an auditory CPT. Studies previously cited in the literature have reported finding electrophysiological gender differences using cognitively complex tasks (e.g. visual and spatial). The successful completion of such complex tasks, however, in no way insures the use of a single cognitive strategy by all subjects. In fact, many different cognitive strategies may conceivably enable a subject to _,/"' successfully complete a task with complex cognitive dimensions. In the present study a CPT was chosen so as to minimize strategy variation. A mixed ANOVA was performed on the absolute alpha power scores from eight bipolar recording sites. Males and females exhibited comparable lateralization patterns of brain activation during the resting condition and both time periods during the CPT. There was a significant decrease in absolute alpha power in the right temporal-occipital leads and the left temporal-occipital leads for both time periods during the CPT. These data provide evidence that previous observations of gender differences during the performance of complex tasks (verbal and spatial tasks) reflect distinct cognitive strategies rather than hard-wiring brain differences. In addition, the data do not support the hypothesis that the right frontal lobe mediates the attention mechanism responsible for maintenance of vigilance.

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