Age increases brain complexity

Andrey P. Anokhin, Niels Birbaumer, Werner Lutzenberger, Andrey Nikolaev, Friedrich Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


This study investigated age-related changes in the human brain function using both traditional EEG analysis (power spectra) and the correlational dimension, a measure reflecting the complexity of EEG dynamics and, probably, the complexity of neurophysiologicaI processes generating the EEG. Assuming that the accumulation of individual experience is determined by the formation of functionally related groups of neurons showing a repetitive synchronous activation (cell assemblies), an increase in the number of such independently oscillating cortical cell assemblies can be expected, despite a decline of some metabolic and memory functions with normal age ing. Thus, the 'wisdom of old age' may find its neurophysiological basis in greater complexity of brain dynamics compared to young ages. The experimental hypothesis was that EEG dimension steadily increases with age. In order to test this hypothesis the resting EEGs of 5 age groups from 7 to 60 were analysed. The results confirm the hypothesis: after a jump in the brain dynamics complexity during puberty a linear increase with age is observed. During maturation (7-25 years), the maximum gain in complexity occurs over the frontal associative cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • Development
  • Dimensional complexity


Dive into the research topics of 'Age increases brain complexity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this