EEG evidence of gender differences in a motor related CNV study

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2007 Mar;114(3):359-66. doi: 10.1007/s00702-006-0568-5. Epub 2006 Sep 14.


In the present study gender differences related to the contingent negative variation (CNV) were investigated. A series of two acoustic stimuli was presented to participants across a wide age range. The first stimulus was consistent throughout the experiment whereas the second one was either a high frequency or a low frequency tone. One of them had to be answered by a button press (go condition) the other did not require any response (nogo condition). Between the first and the second tone there was a time period of two seconds in which the CNV appeared as a slow negative potential shift. Within this episode data were analysed with respect to gender differences. Statistical analysis revealed topographical differences between men and women in go conditions for both left and right index finger movements. Differences were found over frontal regions where women showed higher brain activity than men and over temporo-parietal regions where men produced higher brain activity than women. In order to explain the fact that only in "go" conditions significant gender differences occurred we introduce the phenomenon of implicit learning. Due to implicit learning assumed predictions related to S2 might have occurred from time to time. This is so, because a 50% chance for one of two different stimuli to occur leads to reasonable assumed predictions after two or more stimuli of a kind occurring in a series. The present data now provide evidence that if such assumed prediction or expectancy is directed towards an upcoming demand to act then brain activity is subject to gender differences. Further studies providing controlled sequences of "go" conditions versus "nogo" conditions have to be done to prove this idea true.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Contingent Negative Variation / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sex Characteristics*