Changes in linear and nonlinear EEG measures as a function of task complexity: evidence for local and distant signal synchronization

Sifis Micheloyannis, Michael Vourkas, Manolis Bizas, Panagiotis Simos, Cornelis J Stam

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the present study was threefold: First, to replicate previous findings of changes in local gamma band power as a function of the complexity of a visuo-semantic processing task, second, to extend these findings in tasks delivered in the auditory modality, and third to explore the use of non-linear algorithms as indices of complexity and distant synchronization in the EEG signal. EEG was recorded from 28 scalp locations as participants performed three visual discrimination tasks designed to tap into increasingly more complex operations regularly involved in the recognition of living animate objects. Two auditory processing tasks involving the same stimuli, but requiring no semantic processing, served as controls. The degree of complexity of the semantic decision was associated with the predicted changes in local gamma power, as well as with broadband changes in the non-linear predictability of the signal (an index derived using an artificial neural network algorithm). These changes were observed at all scalp regions, a finding consistent with the wide cortical distribution of component processes involved in the tasks. In addition, the synchronization between temporal and parieto-occipital electrodes and the remaining recording sites was highest in the gamma bands and lowest in the alpha bands for the task that required the most complex visuo-semantic decision. This trend reversed with reduced task complexity, consistent with the view that multidimensional semantic decisions require the involvement of distributed cortical networks in auditory and visual association areas and in the frontal lobes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-47
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Auditory Perception
  • Brain/physiology
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe/physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Semantics
  • Visual Perception

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