Frontal theta/beta-ratio (Tbr) as potential biomarker for attentional control during reading in healthy females

Elise K. Swart, Thijs M.J. Nielen, Shelley Shaul, Maria T. Sikkema-De Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to expand previous research on the value of frontal theta/beta-ratio as a state measure of attentional control, by applying this measure during reading. Healthy female undergraduate students (N = 24) read two texts (with and without nonsense words), self-reported mind wandering during reading and filled in questionnaires about attentional control in daily life. Frontal theta/beta-ratios during the baseline phase and during reading were strongly related. The average frontal theta/beta-ratio during reading predicted reading comprehension of the text with nonsense words and fully mediated the relationship between frontal theta/beta-ratio during the baseline and reading comprehension. Fluctuations in frontal theta/beta-ratio during reading were related to frontal theta/beta-ratio during baseline and to self-reported mind wandering during reading for the text with nonsense words. Results show that frontal theta/beta-ratio is a promising state measure of attentional control during reading. Replication in other samples and with different texts is needed to better understand its potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-211
Number of pages25
JournalCognition, Brain, Behavior. An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 ASCR Publishing House. All rights reserved.


  • Attentional control
  • EEG
  • Mind wandering
  • Reading comprehension
  • Theta/beta ratio (TBR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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