Figural Creative Task Sculpts the Baseline Resting-State EEG in Older Adults: A Pilot Study

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Creative activity has a neuroprotective effect in later life. One of the key factors that contribute to this inspiring effect is cognitive stimulation via creative ideation. The underlying neuronal mechanism is task-induced neuroplasticity, which may manifest itself as post-task changes in the brain activity in the areas involved in task execution. Two main types of creativity, verbal and figural, relying on visual–spatial and semantic processes, respectively, show different trajectories of age-related changes. In order to identify, which type of creative tasks leaves more pronounced post-task traces in the resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in older adults, we recorded EEG in 29 mentally healthy elderly (64 ± 6 years) subjects before, during, and after the performance of 30 verbal and 30 figural tasks. Current source density (CSD) estimates and subsequent statistical contrasts using statistical nonparametric mapping were calculated with LORETA. The CSD increased from the pre-task to post-task interval in the Δ–γ rhythms, most prominently in parietal–occipital areas (regions of interest, ROIs). The CSD increase was also induced during figural (but not verbal) task performance. In comparison with figural tasks, topographically undifferentiated CSD decrease was identified in post-task activity suggesting preservation of the pattern originated during figural task performance in the post-task EEG in a less pronounced form. Additionally, multiple positive correlations between EEG activity during figural task performance and the post-task interval within ROIs were found. The results indicate that a figural creative task leaves more pronounced post-task traces than a verbal task, which suggests that figural tasks are promising for further study as cognitive training for older adults.

Translated title of the contributionРешение образных креативных задач изменяет фоновую ЭЭГ покоя у пожилых людей (пилотное исследование)
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • aging
  • divergent thinking
  • EEG
  • figural creativity
  • post-task traces




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