Studies of Cortical Interactions over Short Periods of Time during the Search for Verbal Associations

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Interactions between cortical areas were studied during the search for verbal associations and reading of words. The functional anatomy and the sequence of involvement of cortical areas during the solution of these tasks have been described previously, in studies using positron emission tomography and multichannel recordings of evoked potentials combined with identification of the locations of dipole sources [8, 9, 19, 25]. Cortical interactions reflected in terms of the synchronization of EEG rhythms were studied by developing a method based on correlating curve wavelets, which allows the moments at which this synchronization occurs to be identified over short periods of time comparable with the speeds of individual thought operations (up to 100 msec). Three main stages were identified in the search for associations. During the first 200 msec after stimulus presentation, cortical connections were seen between the right and left frontal areas; at 200–500 msec, there were connections between the frontal and the temporal-parietal areas; finally, at 450–700 sec, there were connections between the left temporal and the right frontal-central-temporal areas. These results are in good agreement with data obtained previously using other methods and supplement them with mapping data on cortical connections. A number of differences in the mechanisms of information processing during the search for associations and reading were also identified.

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