Experimental brain research vol:195 issue:4 pages:635-642
Adults use different strategies in mental arithmetic. For example, they directly retrieve the answer from memory or calculate by means of procedural strategies. Despite growing insight into the hemodynamic and electrophysiological correlates of these strategies, the functional changes in the oscillatory brain dynamics during the use of these strategies remain unknown. In the present high-resolution electroencephalography (EEG) study, we analysed event-related synchronisation (ERS) and desynchronisation (ERD) in the theta and alpha bands while participants solved addition and subtraction problems, which displayed a high probability of retrieval or procedural strategy use. Findings revealed that arithmetic fact retrieval is reflected in left-hemispheric ERS in the theta band, whereas the application of procedural strategies is accompanied by bilateral parietooccipital ERD in the alpha band. The topographical and frequency specificity of the strategy effects provides a start for the development of electrophysiological indices of strategy use in arithmetic.