The EEG Theta/Beta Ratio: A marker of Arousal or Cognitive Processing Capacity?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is the most common psychiatric disorder of childhood and has been extensively researched using EEG technology. Within this literature, one of the most widely examined measures has been the theta/beta ratio. The theta/beta ratio was initially hypothesised to represent the arousal mechanism. However, subsequent research has shown this to be inaccurate and it was hypothesised that the ratio represents cognitive processing capacity. To examine that hypothesis, this study aimed to test the relationship between the P300 and the theta/beta ratio. The P300, absolute alpha and the theta/beta ratio were measured at Fz, Cz and Pz, and correlated in a group of 47 normal adults. A significant positive correlation was found between P300 latency and the theta/beta ratio. No relationship was found between P300 amplitude and the theta/beta ratio. P300 amplitude, but not latency, significantly correlated with alpha power. These results support the hypothesis that the theta/beta ratio is a marker of cognitive processing capacity.