Monday, November 16, 2009

The Gamma-Trait

Today (16th November 2009),

I came to a colloquium in COGNIUM building of University of Bremen. The talk is presented by Prof. Dr. Christoph Herrmann, from the "Institut für Psychologie", University of Magdeburg. Actually, he has moved to the "Institut für Psychologie", University of Oldenburg.

The title of the talk is "Der Gamma-Trait: Inter-individuelle Variation der EEG Gamma-Band-Aktivität spiegelt Unterschiede kognitiver Funktionen wider". The title is in German but the talk is in English. So let me translate the title: "The Gamma-Trait: inter-individual variation of the EEG Gamma band activity reflects the differences in cognitive functions."

Gamma band is the EEG frequency above 30 Hz. Most experiments shown are about event-related potential (ERP) of the EEG. The events are created by stimuli: pictures showing pattern. The response is measured by EEG.

I didn't take note in the talk. I also came late.
But I remember a few things from the talk.


There are relationship between genes and the cognition.
The certain genes play a role in dopamine production and other neuronal activity.
The dopamine has relationship with Gamma band activity.
Gamma Band activity is generated by certain stimuli.
So the response of human brain or the cognition depends on genes.

It could means that the way we (human) think differently and act so because of our genes.
We were meant to be different from each other. So religious fundamentalism and racism, who hate different others, are really against our nature.


Prior knowledge is important.
There are two experiments showing pictures and recording EEG: first experiment is without prior knowledge and second experiment (in the following 2 weeks) is with prior knowledge from the first one. The second experiment always shows a higher Gamma trait.


Giving an electric current to your head increase your Gamma trait.
The experiment is done with both DC and AC voltage.
If you think you can get smarter after you have an electric current through your head, you are wrong. The effect of an increase of Gamma trait last only a few minutes.

It is more stupid if you think electroshock through your brain can make you genious. :-)


A man who has a task to differentiate patterns shows an interesting Gamma Trait.
If a similar pattern (to the targeted pattern) is shown, there is also Gamma activity although not as high as from the targeted pattern.
For example there is pattern A, B, C, D. Pattern A has similarities with pattern B and C but it is totally different from pattern D. A subject should pay attention to pattern A. Gamma activity shows the highest response for A and shows a little response for B and C but no response for D.


In the talk, there was also different Gamma activity between healthy people and the ones with ADHD. It is too complicated to tell in this blog.


Next Monday, I will come to another talk: "A Bayesian model of Attentional Load".
Maybe the following talk will be useful for my Master Thesis.

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