Frontal Gamma Asymmetry in Response to Soft Skills Stimuli: A Pilot Study

Ronald J. Bonnstetter, Dustin Hebets, Nancy L. Wigton


Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to explore associations between self-reported rank ordering of a set of 23 job-related soft skills and frontal gamma (38 to 42 Hz) asymmetry emerging during exposure to the same set of soft skills.  Method: Fourteen individuals responded to a soft skill assessment, then were exposed to a randomized list of the same soft skills’ key words while collecting electroencephalographic (EEG) data, using a new implementation of standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) to analyze and view voxel images of real-time brain activity.  A differential calculation, as a measure of approach or avoidance to the key word stimulus (Approach-Avoidance-Differential; AAD), was used to quantify the asymmetry in response to the stimuli.  Spearman’s Rank correlations (rs) were calculated for the paired occurrences between the self-reported ranking of the soft skills and the AAD.  Results: Overall, 71% of the cases resulted in correlations, indicating soft skill directionality response.  Reduction in gamma response intensity was seen when participants’ ranked their highest to lowest soft skills, as indicated in their self-reported assessments.  Conclusions: These results will inform further organizational neuroscience research which has potential to lead to a new approach to self-report validation and methods to detect individual approach or avoidance biases which impact self-reporting assessments.


gamma asymmetry, soft skills, precognition, industrial/organizational psychology, organizational neuroscience, sLORETA, approach-avoidance

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