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Int J Psychophysiol. 2004 Jul;53(2):147-60.

Alpha oscillations as a correlate of trait anxiety.

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State Research Institute of Physiology, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Timakova Street, 4, Novosibirsk 630117, Russia.


The associations among psychometric measures of anxiety and depression and individually adjusted electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral power measures registered in resting condition and during experimental settings were investigated in 30 males aged 18-25 years. During all stages of registration, Taylor Manifest Anxiety and Spielberger state anxiety (SA) and trait anxiety (TA) scores were positively related to alpha and negatively to delta relative power with these relations being independent of cortical site. Within-subject estimate of the strength of reciprocal relationship between alpha and delta oscillations (alpha-delta anticorrelation, or ADA) was positively related to trait anxiety and depression. Three minutes after an alarming event (unexpected loud sound), a further increase of alpha power was observed. In low-anxiety subjects, this increase was mostly associated with fast alpha (alpha 3), whereas in high-anxiety ones, it was mainly linked to slow alpha (alpha 2). SA mediated relationship between TA and EEG power, while ADA and alpha band reactivity showed trait-like features being associated with TA even after accounting for SA. These findings are interpreted as an indication of higher vigilance and higher reactivity of alpha system in anxious individuals.

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