To jump or not to jump – EEG Study

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To jump or not to jump – The Bereitschaftspotential required to jump into 192-meter abyss.

Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 19;9(1):2243

Authors: Nann M, Cohen LG, Deecke L, Soekadar SR

Self-initiated voluntary acts, such as pressing a button, are preceded by a surface-negative electrical brain potential, the Bereitschaftspotential (BP), that can be recorded over the human scalp using electroencephalography (EEG). While the BP’s early component (BP1, generated in the supplementary and cingulate motor area) was linked to motivational, intentional and timing properties, the BP’s late component (BP2, generated in the primary motor cortex) was found to be linked to motor execution and performance. Up to now, the BP required to initiate voluntary acts has only been recorded under well-controlled laboratory conditions, and it was unknown whether possible life-threatening decision making, e.g. required to jump into a 192-meter abyss, would impact this form of brain activity. Here we document for the first time pre-movement brain activity preceding 192-meter bungee jumping. We found that the BP’s spatiotemporal dynamics reflected by BP1 and BP2 are comparable before 192-meter bungee jumping and jumping from 1-meter. These results, possible through recent advancements in wireless and portable EEG technology, suggest that possible life-threatening decision-making has no impact on the BP’s spatiotemporal dynamics.

PMID: 30783174 [PubMed – in process]

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