Impulsivity — Reflexivity and Neuroefficiency of Intellectual Activity



A brief review of current research into the problem of cognitive neuroefficiency revealed a large array of conflicting data. Some studies provide evidence of lower energy consumption and faster cognitive activity in respondents with high IQ, while others show higher energy consumption and slower speed. Other datasets indicate that respondents with high intelligence are more reflexive than those with low intelligence. The heterogeneity of the samples is indicated as a key reason for the inconsistency of the data. This study aimed to compare behavioral and electroencephalographic data in groups of respondents homogeneous in terms of (a) sex, (b) age, and (c) manifestations of the cognitive style Impulsivity-Reflexivity. The study sample consisted of three age groups: 92 people aged 13.73 ± 0.45 years (44.5% of men), 123 people aged 15.46 ± 0.66 years (52% of men), 36 people aged 21.11±2.87 years (44.4% of men). The diagnostic procedure included the collection of behavioral data (Cognitive Personality Style Questionnaire CPS-Q, Raven’s SPM, Amtrhauer’s Intelligence Structure Test, Rusalov’s Personality Formal Dynamic Properties Questionnaire) and data on the bioelectrical activity of the cerebral cortex at rest and during the detection of similar figures J. Kagan. Comparative data analysis (U-test; H-test) showed that women demonstrate significantly higher intelligence indicators, detect similar figures with greater accuracy, but at the same time expend more energy in terms of the EEG power spectrum, compared with men. Significant differences in intelligence and Impulsivity-Reflexivity among age groups were not found. However, a significant decrease in the EEG power spectrum was revealed under electrodes O1, C3, Oz, Pz, CP4 while solving Kagan’s tasks from the younger to the older age group. A paradoxical result was obtained when comparing groups of respondents significantly different in terms of the Impulsivity-Reflexivity of the Kagan test. Significant differences in the EEG power spectrum, CPS-Q Impulsivity and Reflexivity scales, and intelligence were not found. A hypothesis was put forward about the false discriminant validity of the Kagan test for respondents with low IQ.

General Information

Keywords: impulsivity, reflexivity, EEG power spectrum, gender differences, age differences, intelligence

Journal rubric: Cognitive Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful to the students from Moscow and Ufa who voluntarily took part in this study.

Received: 13.05.2022


For citation: Volkova E.V., Dokuchaev D.A. Impulsivity — Reflexivity and Neuroefficiency of Intellectual Activity. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2022. Vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 125–143. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2022150210. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Bec L.V., Val’c E.V., Sajapina E.S. Izuchenie somaticheskih osobennostej i gormonal’nogo statusa u korennogo naselenija Novgorodskoj oblasti [The study of somatic features and hormonal status in the indigenous population of the Novgorod region]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta [Bulletin of the Moscow University]. Serija 23. Antropologija, (2). pp. 4—15. (In Russ.).
  2. Burceva T.E., Samsonova M.I., Dranaeva G.G., Nikolaeva L.A., Jakovleva S.Ja., Danilova G.I. Nekotorye pokazateli jendokrinnogo statusa detej malochislennyh narodov Severa Jakutii [Some indicators of the endocrine status of children of the indigenous peoples of the North of Yakutia]. Dal’nevostochnyj medicinskij zhurnal [Far Eastern Medical Journal]. №. 1. pp. 66—67. (In Russ.).
  3. Volkova E.V., Nilopec M.N. Svidetel’stvo o gosudarstvennoy registratsii programmy dlya EVM InTesting, RU № 2016661340 ot 06.10.2016 (In Russ.).
  4. Volkova E.V., Rusalov V.M., Dudnikova T.A. Kognitivnye stili v strukture individual’nosti v period rannej vzroslosti [Cognitive styles in the structure of individuality in early adulthood]. V sbornike: Fundamental’nye i prikladnye issledovanija sovremennoj psikhologii [Fundamental and applied research in modern psychology]. Pp. 1137—1144 (In Russ.).
  5. Ivanov L.B. Spektr moshhnosti EEG: oshibki i praktika primenenija [EEG power spectrum: errors and practice of application]. Medicinskij alfavit [Medical Alphabet]. № 39. pp. 45—52. DOI:10.33667/2078- 5631-2021-39-45-52 (In Russ.).
  6. Klaus G. Vvedenie v differencial’nuju psihologiju uchenija: Per. s nem. [Introduction to the differential psychology of learning: TRANS. from German]. Pod red. I.V. Ravich-Shherbo. M.: Pedagogika [Ed. I.V. Ravich-Scherbo. Moscow: Pedagogy]. 1987. 176 p. (In Russ.).
  7. Kolga V.A. Differencial’no-psihologicheskoe issledovanie kognitivnogo stilja i obuchaemosti: diss. ... kand. psihol. Nauk [Differential psychological study of cognitive style and learning: diss. ... cand. psychol]. Leningrad.: LGU. (In Russ.).
  8. Raven Dzh.K., Kurt D.Zh. Rukovodstvo k progressivnym matricam Ravena i slovarnym shkalam [A Guide to Raven’s Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary Scales]. Moskva: Kogito-Centr [Moscow: Kogito- Center.]. 1998. 86 p. (In Russ.).
  9. Rusalov V.M. Oprosnik formal’no-dinamicheskih svojstv individual’nosti (OFDSI): metodicheskoe posobie [Questionnaire of formal-dynamic properties of individuality (QFDPI): methodological guide]. Moskva: Izdatel’stvo “Institut psihologii RAN” [Moscow: Publishing House “Institute of Psychology RAS”]. 1997. 50 p. (In Russ.).
  10. Rusalov V.M., Volkova E.V. Lichnostno-kognitivnye stili i ih svjaz’ s temperamentom i harakterom cheloveka v period rannej junosti [Personal-cognitive styles and their relationship with the temperament and character of a person in early adolescence]. Psihologicheskij zhurnal [Psychological journal]. T. 36. № 5. pp. 32—42. (In Russ.).
  11. Rusalova M.N., Mitrofanov A.A. Impul’sivnost’ i refleksivnost’ u cheloveka: asimmetrija i razlichija EEG [Impulsivity and reflexivity in humans: EEG asymmetry and differences]. Asimmetrija [Journal. “Asymmetry]. V.10. №2. pp. 23—39. DOI:10.18454/ASY.2016.35.2516. (In Russ.).
  12. Faber D.A. Razvitie golovnogo mozga i formirovanie poznavatel’noj dejatel’nosti rebenka / pod red. M.M. Bezrukih. Moskva.: Moskovskoe izdatel’stvo. psihologo-social’nyj institute [Development of the brain and the formation of cognitive activity of the child. ed. M.M. Bezrukikh. Moscow: Moscow publishing house. psychological and social institute]. 432 р. (In Russ.).
  13. Fokin V.F. Dinamicheskaja funkcional’naja asimmetrija kak otrazhenie funkcional’nyh sostojanij [Dynamic functional asymmetry as a reflection of functional states]. «Asimmetrija» [Journal. “Asymmetry”]. 2007. V. 1. No 1. Рр. 4—10. (In Russ.).
  14. Holodnaja M.A. Kognitivnye stili. O prirode individual’nogo uma [Cognitive styles. On the nature of the individual mind]. Sankt-Piterburg [Saint-Petersburg]. 384 p. (In Russ.).
  15. Shkuratova I.P. Kognitivnyj stil’ i obshhenie [Cognitive style and communication.]. Rostov-na-Donu: Izd-vo RGPU [Rostov-on-don. Publishing house: RSPU].1994.156 p. (In Russ.).
  16. Jasjukova L.A. Test struktury intellekta (IST) R. Amthaujera. Metodicheskoe rukovodstvo. IMATON [Intelligence Structure Test (IST) by R. Amthauer. Methodological guide]. 2009. 80 p. (In Russ.).
  17. Amthauer R., Brocke B., Liepmann D., Beauducel A. Intelligenz-Struktur-Test 2000 R. I-S-T 2000 R. Goettingen: Hogrefe, 2007.
  18. Babiloni C., Marano N., Infarinato F., Iacoboni M., Rizza G., Aschieri P., et al. “Neural efficiency” of experts’ brain during judgment of actions: a highresolution EEG study in elite and amateur karate athletes. Brain Res. 2010. № 207. Рр. 466—475. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2009.10.034
  19. Basten U., Stelzel C., Fiebach C.J. Intelligence is differentially related to neural effort in the task-positive and the task-negative brain network. 2013. № 41(5). Рр. 517—528. DOI:10.1016/j. intell.2013.07.006
  20. Berti B., Momi D., Sprugnoli G., Neri F., Bonifazi M., Rossi A., et al. Peculiarities of functional connectivity-including cross-modal patterns in professional karate athletes: Correlations with cognitive and motor performances // Neural Plast. P. 1—14. DOI:10.1155/2019/6807978
  21. Block J., Gjerde P.F., Block J. H. More misgivings about the Matching Familiar Figures Test as a measure of reflection-impulsivity: Absence of construct validity in preadolescence. Developmental Psychology. № 22(6). Рр. 820—831. DOI:10.1037/0012-1649.22.6.820
  22. Calvo-Merino B., Glaser D. E., Grèzes J., Passingham R. E., Haggard P. Action observation and acquired motor skills: an FMRI study with expert dancers. Cerebral Cortex. №15, 1243—1249. DOI:10.1093/ cercor/bhi007
  23. Causse M., Chua Z., Peysakhovich V., Del Campo N., Matton N. Mental workload and neural efficiency quantified in the prefrontal cortex using fNIRS. Scientific Reports. № 7, 5222.
  24. Costanzo F., Varuzza C., Rossi S., Sdoia S., Varvara P., Oliveri M., et al. Evidence for reading improvement following tDCS treatment in children and adolescents with dyslexia. Neurol. Neurosci. 2016a. №34. Рр. 215—226. DOI:10.3233/rnn-150561
  25. Dunst B., Benedek M., Jauk E., Bergner S., Koschutnig K., Sommer M., et al. Neural efficiency as a function of task demands. 2014. №42. Рр. 22—30. DOI:10.1016/j.intell.2013.09.005.
  26. Duru A.D., Assem M. Investigating neural efficiency of elite karate athletes during a mental arithmetic task using EEG. Neurodyn. 2018. № 12. Рр. 95—102. DOI:10.1007/s11571-017-9464-y
  27. Egeland, B., Richard A.W. The Matching Familiar Figures Test: A Look at Its Psychometric Credibility. Child Development. vol. 47. № 2. pp. 483—491. DOI:10.2307/1128805. Accessed 11 May 2022.
  28. Filho E., Dobersek U., Husselman T.A. The role of neural efficiency, transient hypofrontality and neural proficiency in optimal performance in self-paced sports: a meta-analytic review. Brain Res. 2021. № 239. Рр. 1381—1393. DOI:10.1007/s00221-021-06078-9
  29. Gao P., Jiang H., Xie Y., Cheng Y. The Triggering Mechanism of Short Video Customer Inspiration — Qualitative Analysis Based on the Repertory Grid Technique. Front Psychol. 2021 Dec. DOI:10.3389/ fpsyg.2021.791567. PMID: 34956019; PMCID: PMC8695854
  30. Haier R.J., Siegel Jr.B.V., Nuechterlein K.H., Hazlett E., Wu J.C., Paek J., et al. Cortical glucose metabolic rate correlates of abstract reasoning and attention studied with positron emission tomography. 1988. №12. Рр 199—217. DOI:10.1016/0160-2896(88)90016-5
  31. Kagan J. Reflection-impulsivity and reading ability in primary grade children [Text]. Child Decel. V. 36. рр. 609—628.
  32. Kagan J. Reflection—impulsivity: the generality of dynamics of conceptual tempo. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol. 71. Pр. 17—24.
  33. Knyazev G.G. Motivation, emotion, and their inhibitory control mirrored in brain oscillations. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. № 31(3). Рр. 377—395. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2006.10.004
  34. Kornilova T.V., Chumakova M.A. Tolerance and intolerance of ambiguity in the modification of Budner’s questionnaire. Experimental psychology. V. 7(1). Рр. 92—110.
  35. Kulaichev A. Correlation of EEG Envelopes is the Best Method for Identifying Mental Diseases, Functional States, Individual and Intergroup Differences. Global Journal of Medical Research. S.l.
  36. Kulaichev A. The new method of assessing EEG synchrony is the best instrument for identifying interindividual and intergroup differences. Archives in Neurology & Neuroscience. № 3. Рp. 1—7.
  37. Lansbergen, M.M., Schutter, D.J., & Kenemans, J.L. (). Subjective impulsivity and baseline EEG in relation to stopping performance. Brain Research. № 1148. Рр. 161—169. DOI:10.1016/j. brainres.2007.02.034
  38. Lawrence K.A., Allen J.S., Chanen A.M. Impulsivity in borderline personality disorder: reward-based decision-making and its relationship to emotional distress. J Pers. Disord. Dec. № 24(6). Рр 786—799. DOI:10.1521/pedi.2010.24.6.785. PMID: 21158600
  39. Lee J.Y., Park S.M., Kim Y.J., Kim D.J., Choi S.W., Kwon J.S., Choi J.S. Resting-state EEG activity related to impulsivity in gambling disorder. Journal of behavioral addictions. № 6(3). Рр. 387—395. DOI:10.1556/2006.6.2017.055
  40. Li Q., Dai W., Zhong Y., Wang L., Dai B., Liu X. The Mediating Role of Coping Styles on Impulsivity, Behavioral Inhibition/Approach System, and Internet Addiction in Adolescents from a Gender Perspective. Front Psychol. 2019 Oct. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02402. PMID: 31708840; PMCID: PMC6821786
  41. Longxi L., Daniel S. Neural Efficiency in Athletes: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2021. № 15. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2021.698555
  42. Neubauer A.C., Grabner R.H., Fink A., Neuper C. Intelligence and neural efficiency: Further evidence of the influence of task content and sex on the brain—IQ relationship. Cognitive Brain Research. vol. 25. Рр. 217—225.
  43. Neubauer A.C., Fink A. Intelligence and neural efficiency. Biobehav. 2009. Rev. 33. Рр. 1004— 1023. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009. 04.001
  44. Neubauer A.C., Fink A., Grabner R.H. Sensitivity of alpha band ERD/ERS to individual differences in cognition. Event-Related Dynamics of Brain Oscillations Progress in Brain Research. vol.159. pp. 167—178.
  45. Pedro Solis-Camara R. Is the matching familiar figures test a measure of cognitive style? A warning for users. Perceptual And Motor Skills. №64(1). Рр. 59—74. DOI:10.2466/PMS.1987.64.1.59
  46. Rypma B., Berger J.S., Prabhakaran V., Bly B.M., Kimberg D.Y., Biswal B.B.,et al. Neural correlates of cognitive efficiency. 2006. №33, 969—979. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.05.065
  47. Stenberg G. (1992). Personality and the EEG: Arousal and emotional arousability. Personality and Individual Differences. № 13(10). Рр. 1097—1113. DOI:10.1016/0191-8869(92)90025-K
  48. Volkova E.V., Rusalov V.M. Cognitive styles and Personality. Personality and Individual Differences. Vol. 99. P. 266—271.
  49. Witkin H., Goodenough D. Cognitive style: essence and origins. Y. 1982. 135 p.

Information About the Authors

Elena V. Volkova, Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Laboratory of Psychology of Abilities and Mental Resources named after V.N. Druzhinin, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Denis A. Dokuchaev, Post-Graduate Student, Junior Researcher, Laboratory of the Psychology of Abilities and Mental Resources named after V.N. Druzhinin, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 772
Previous month: 61
Current month: 1


Total: 219
Previous month: 12
Current month: 0