Frontal EEG theta/beta ratio as an electrophysiological marker for attentional control and its test-retest reliability

Biol Psychol. 2016 Dec;121(Pt A):49-52. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.09.008. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


A robust finding is that resting-state frontal theta/beta ratio (TBR), a spontaneous electroencephalographic (EEG) frequency band parameter, is increased in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Accumulating evidence suggests that TBR might also provide an objective marker of executive cognitive control (and more specifically attentional control; AC) in healthy adults. The present study aimed to further investigate this conception by assessing EEG frequency band power and AC twice (with a one-week interval) in 41 young female adults. In line with our predictions, the negative association between TBR and trait AC, as measured with an often used self-report measure, was replicated. Results also demonstrated that test-retest reliability of resting-state frontal TBR was very good (r=.93) and, moreover, TBR measured at the first session predicted AC during the second session (r=-.44). These consistent results further reinforce the notion that frontal TBR could be used as a reliable biomarker for prefrontally-mediated executive AC.

Keywords: Attentional control; EEG; Test-retest reliability; Theta/beta ratio.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Beta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers