Brain electric microstates and momentary conscious mind states as building blocks of spontaneous thinking: I. Visual imagery and abstract thoughts

Lehmann, Dietrich; Strik, Werner; Henggeler, B.; Koenig, Thomas; Koukkou, Martha (1998). Brain electric microstates and momentary conscious mind states as building blocks of spontaneous thinking: I. Visual imagery and abstract thoughts. International journal of psychophysiology, 29(1), pp. 1-11. Elsevier 10.1016/S0167-8760(97)00098-6

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Prompted reports of recall of spontaneous, conscious experiences were collected in a no-input, no-task, no-response paradigm (30 random prompts to each of 13 healthy volunteers). The mentation reports were classified into visual imagery and abstract thought. Spontaneous 19-channel brain electric activity (EEG) was continuously recorded, viewed as series of momentary spatial distributions (maps) of the brain electric field and segmented into microstates, i.e. into time segments characterized by quasi-stable landscapes of potential distribution maps which showed varying durations in the sub-second range. Microstate segmentation used a data-driven strategy. Different microstates, i.e. different brain electric landscapes must have been generated by activity of different neural assemblies and therefore are hypothesized to constitute different functions. The two types of reported experiences were associated with significantly different microstates (mean duration 121 ms) immediately preceding the prompts; these microstates showed, across subjects, for abstract thought (compared to visual imagery) a shift of the electric gravity center to the left and a clockwise rotation of the field axis. Contrariwise, the microstates 2 s before the prompt did not differ between the two types of experiences. The results support the hypothesis that different microstates of the brain as recognized in its electric field implement different conscious, reportable mind states, i.e. different classes (types) of thoughts (mentations); thus, the microstates might be candidates for the `atoms of thought'.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Management
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychiatric Neurophysiology (discontinued)

UniBE Contributor:

Strik, Werner; König, Thomas and Koukkou-Lehmann, Martha

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0167-8760

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas König

Date Deposited:

14 Aug 2014 16:49

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2015 22:56

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/S0167-8760(97)00098-6

PubMed ID:

9641243

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Microstates of brain electric field, Conscious experiences , Visual imagery, Abstract thought, Mode of cognition, Spontaneous mentation

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.39739

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/39739

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