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Drawing on minds canvas: Differences in cortical integration patterns between artists and non-artists

By Joydeep Bhattacharya and Hellmuth Petsche


Our primary question was to learn whether mentally composing drawings of their own choice produce different brain electric features in artists and laymen. To this purpose, we studied multichannel electroencephalograph (EEG) signals from two broad groups (all participants were females): artists (professionally trained in visual arts) and non-artists (without any training in art). To assess the underlying synchronization, which is assumed to be the platform for general cognitive integration between different cortical regions, three measures inspired by nonlinear dynamical system theory were applied as follows: (1) index based on generalized synchronization; (2) index based on mean phase coherence; and (3) index of phase synchrony based on entropy. Results consistent over all three measures were as follows: comparing the tasks to rest, the artists showed significantly stronger short- and long-range delta band synchronization, whereas the non-artists showed enhancement in short-range beta and gamma band synchronization primarily in frontal regions; comparing the two groups during the tasks, the artists showed significantly stronger delta band synchronization and alpha band desynchronization than did the non-artists. Strong right hemispheric dominance in terms of synchronization was found in the artists. In artists, the higher synchrony in the low-frequency band is possibly due to the involvement of a more advanced long-term visual art memory and to extensive top-down processing. The results demonstrate that in artists, patterns of functional cooperation between cortical regions during mental creation of drawings were significantly different from those in non-artists

Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2005
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