Frontal theta/beta-ratio (TBR) as potential biomarker for attentional control during reading in healthy females

Written by Elise K. Swart, Thijs M. J. Nielen, Shelley Shaul, Maria T. Sikkema-de Jong on . Posted in Volume XXIV, Nr 3


Elise K. Swart1,2*, Thijs M. J. Nielen1, Shelley Shaul3, Maria T. Sikkema-de Jong1,2

1 Department of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2 Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), The Netherlands
3 Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities, University of Haifa, Israel


The aim of the present study was to expand previous research on the value of frontal theta/beta-ratio as a state measure of attentional control, by applying this measure during reading. Healthy female undergraduate students (N = 24) read two texts (with and without nonsense words), self-reported mind wandering during reading and filled in questionnaires about attentional control in daily life. Frontal theta/beta-ratios during the baseline phase and during reading were strongly related. The average frontal theta/beta-ratio during reading predicted reading comprehension of the text with nonsense words and fully mediated the relationship between frontal theta/beta-ratio during the baseline and reading comprehension. Fluctuations in frontal theta/beta-ratio during reading were related to frontal theta/beta-ratio during baseline and to self-reported mind wandering during reading for the text with nonsense words. Results show that frontal theta/beta-ratio is a promising state measure of attentional control during reading. Replication in other samples and with different texts is needed to better understand its potential.

Keywords: attentional control, mind wandering, reading comprehension, EEG, theta/beta ratio (TBR)



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