The Influence of Pre-stimulus EEG Activity on Reaction Time During a Verbal Sternberg Task is Related to Musical Expertise

Klein, Carina; Diaz, Laura; König, Thomas; Kottlow, Mara; Elmer, Stefan; Jäncke, Lutz (2016). The Influence of Pre-stimulus EEG Activity on Reaction Time During a Verbal Sternberg Task is Related to Musical Expertise. Brain topography, 29(1), pp. 67-81. Springer 10.1007/s10548-015-0433-7

[img] Text
art%3A10.1007%2Fs10548-015-0433-7.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

Abstract Previous work highlighted the possibility that musical training has an influence on cognitive functioning. The suggested reason for this influence is the strong recruitment of attention, planning, and working memory functions during playing a musical instrument. The purpose of the present work was twofold, namely to evaluate the general relationship between pre-stimulus electrophysiological activity and cognition, and more specifically the influence of musical expertise on working memory functions. With this purpose in mind, we used covariance mapping analyses to evaluate whether pre-stimulus electroencephalographic activity is predictive for reaction time during a visual working memory task (Sternberg paradigm) in musicians and non-musicians. In line with our hypothesis, we replicated previous findings pointing to a general predictive value of pre-stimulus activity for working memory performance. Most importantly, we also provide first evidence for an influence of musical expertise on working memory performance that could distinctively be predicted by pre-stimulus spectral power. Our results open novel perspectives for better comprehending the vast influences of musical expertise on cognition.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychiatric Neurophysiology [discontinued]

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Diaz, Laura; König, Thomas and Kottlow, Mara


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Thomas König

Date Deposited:

21 May 2015 11:36

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2016 01:30

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback