EEG dynamics reflect the distinct cognitive process of optic problem solving

Hsiao-Ching She*, Tzyy Ping Jung, Wen Chi Chou, Li Yu Huang, Chia-Yu Wang, Guan Yu Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study explores the changes in electroencephalographic (EEG) activity associated with the performance of solving an optics maze problem. College students (N = 37) were instructed to construct three solutions to the optical maze in a Web-based learning environment, which required some knowledge of physics. The subjects put forth their best effort to minimize the number of convexes and mirrors needed to guide the image of an object from the entrance to the exit of the maze. This study examines EEG changes in different frequency bands accompanying varying demands on the cognitive process of providing solutions. Results showed that the mean power of θ, α1, α2, and β1 significantly increased as the number of convexes and mirrors used by the students decreased from solution 1 to 3. Moreover, the mean power of θ and α1 significantly increased when the participants constructed their personal optimal solution (the least total number of mirrors and lens used by students) compared to their non-personal optimal solution. In conclusion, the spectral power of frontal, frontal midline and posterior theta, posterior alpha, and temporal beta increased predominantly as the task demands and task performance increased.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere40731
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 16 Jul 2012


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