Activation of task-related cortical regions across multiple memory loads and prehension

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University of New Brunswick


This study aims to use electroencephalography (EEG) features during cognitive and motor tasks to study how different regions of the brain are engaged. As a method of quantifying mental workload, the magnitude of alpha activity in the brain was investigated using two open-source datasets: a cognitive task (character-retrieval experiment) and motor task (grasp-and-lift experiment with unexpected changes in dynamics). Our findings confirmed the role of alpha activity as a marker for activity related to memory processing during the memory task. During motor tasks, however, activation of task-relevant areas was seen only in motor-related areas, but not in error processing areas. This is the first study to directly compare EEG alpha activity during both memory and motor tasks. Understanding electrophysiological biomarkers of mental resource allocation during movements and cognition can help identify indicators of mental workload useful for improving brain-machine interfaces.