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Firenze, Italy

Santarnecchi E.,University of Siena | Polizzotto N.R.,University of Pittsburgh | Godone M.,University of Siena | Giovannelli F.,Complex Unit of Neurology | And 4 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2013

Everyday problem solving requires the ability to go beyond experience by efficiently encoding and manipulating new information, i.e., fluid intelligence (Gf) [1]. Performance in tasks involving Gf, such as logical and abstract reasoning, has been shown to rely on distributed neural networks, with a crucial role played by prefrontal regions [2]. Synchronization of neuronal activity in the gamma band is a ubiquitous phenomenon within the brain; however, no evidence of its causal involvement in cognition exists to date [3]. Here, we show an enhancement of Gf ability in a cognitive task induced by exogenous rhythmic stimulation within the gamma band. Imperceptible alternating current [4] delivered through the scalp over the left middle frontal gyrus resulted in a frequency-specific shortening of the time required to find the correct solution in a visuospatial abstract reasoning task classically employed to measure Gf abilities (i.e., Raven's matrices) [5]. Crucially, gamma-band stimulation (γ-tACS) selectively enhanced performance only on more complex trials involving conditional/logical reasoning. The present finding supports a direct involvement of gamma oscillatory activity in the mechanisms underlying higher-order human cognition. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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