EEG peak alpha frequency (PAF) has been shown to differentiate groups of adults with higher memory performance from those of lower performance, groups of children with advanced reading ability from matched controls, and to predict state-dependent working memory. The present study attempted to explore PAF as a predicting variable for verbal and attentional cognitive trait abilities in young adults. Nineteen undergraduate students had their EEG recorded during initial rest, reading, and post-reading rest, and at a different day were evaluated on reading, vocabulary, and attentional performance. Results showed significant correlations of reading vocabulary and response control with PAF during reading and post-reading recordings, but not during initial rest. PAF may reflect some general cognitive ability that is not necessarily memory or reading, possibly response control or the ability to acquire vocabulary. It is suggested that cognitive ability traits may reflect the ability to induce cognitive states. © 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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