An Electroencephalogram Investigation of Two Modes of Reasoning
- Chaille B. Maddox, Chaille Bianca Maddox
Relationships between the P300 component of the event-related potential (ERP) and processes of evaluation and categorization of events have been demonstrated in numerous investigations. On the other hand, these same processes have also been studied extensively by means of rating scale procedures within the framework of the psychological Adaptation-Level Theory. Recently, it has been suggested that the P300 amplitude reflects the distance between the adaptation level and the event that elicits the ERP. In this study we explored this suggestion by examining the effects of stimulus categorization on P300. Seven healthy adult subjects had to judge the length of five letter strings which were presented equiprobably in a randomized sequence. The ERPs (Fz, Cz, Pz derivations) elicited by string presentation were selectively averaged according to the five categories of string length. U-shaped trends of P300 amplitude changes were found. Minimum amplitudes were elicited by strings of medium length consistent with the inferred adaptation level. The data provide further evidence that P300 amplitude reflects the mental distance to adaptation level.