Psychophysiological correlates of the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings

Keywords: EEG correlates, encephalography, psychophysiology, meaning-building, meaning initiation, verbal tasks, meaning tasks, brain mechanisms, thinking, personal meaning

Abstract

Introduction. This paper presents the study of psychophysiological correlates of the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings. For the first time in psychophysiological research the authors employed meaning tasks as a tool for modeling the meaning-building process. The authors suggest that certain patterns of the electrical activity of the brain may be associated with the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings.

Methods. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used to test the hypothesis offered by the authors. The EEG activity was recorded from 128 leads using a multi-channel electroencephalograph (Neurovisor-136, Medical Computer Systems, LTD, Russia). The study sample comprised 52 individual participants – boys and girls aged 18 to 25 years. The participants were asked to interactively perform two types of tasks, namely (a) emotionally neutral logical tasks (control) and (b) verbal tasks that modeled situations of personal meaning initiation (test).

Results. Brain activity patterns of the performance of simple mental tasks were significantly different from the frequency and spatial characteristics of the bioelectric activity of the cerebral cortex during the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings (p < 0.05). In addition to these differences, the results indicate that there were sex differences in the EEG frequency and spatial characteristics (p < 0.05).

Discussion. The increase in functional activity in frontal and central brain regions and the increase in high-frequency rhythms in the temporal-parietal-occipital area of the left hemisphere may be associated with an increase in cognitive and affective loads during the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings. It seems that meaning-building is realized by means of multimodal synthesis and is associated with verbal and non-verbal long-term memory.

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Author Biographies

Pavel N. Ermakov, Southern Federal University

Доктор биологических наук, профессор, академик РАО, директор ЮРНЦ РАО, заведующий кафедрой психофизиологии и клинической психологии Академии психологии и педагогики ЮФУ

Ekaterina G. Denisova, Don State Technical University

Ассистент кафедры «Общая и консультативная психология»

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Published
2019-03-31
How to Cite
Ermakov, P. N., & Denisova, E. G. (2019). Psychophysiological correlates of the performance of verbal tasks in situations initiating personal meanings. Russian Psychological Journal, 16(1), 103-127. https://doi.org/10.21702/rpj.2019.1.5
Section
Psychophysiology