The sleep EEG spectrum is a sexually dimorphic marker of general intelligence

Péter P. Ujma, Boris N. Konrad, Ferenc Gombos, Péter Simor, Adrián Pótári, Lisa Genzel, Marcel Pawlowski, Axel Steiger, R. Bódizs, Martin Dresler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The shape of the EEG spectrum in sleep relies on genetic and anatomical factors and forms an individual "EEG fingerprint". Spectral components of EEG were shown to be connected to mental ability both in sleep and wakefulness. EEG sleep spindle correlates of intelligence, however, exhibit a sexual dimorphism, with a more pronounced association to intelligence in females than males. In a sample of 151 healthy individuals, we investigated how intelligence is related to spectral components of full-night sleep EEG, while controlling for the effects of age. A positive linear association between intelligence and REM anterior beta power was found in females but not males. Transient, spindle-like "REM beta tufts" are described in the EEG of healthy subjects, which may reflect the functioning of a recently described cingular-prefrontal emotion and motor regulation network. REM sleep frontal high delta power was a negative correlate of intelligence. NREM alpha and sigma spectral power correlations with intelligence did not unequivocally remain significant after multiple comparisons correction, but exhibited a similar sexual dimorphism. These results suggest that the neural oscillatory correlates of intelligence in sleep are sexually dimorphic, and they are not restricted to either sleep spindles or NREM sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18070
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Ujma, P. P., Konrad, B. N., Gombos, F., Simor, P., Pótári, A., Genzel, L., Pawlowski, M., Steiger, A., Bódizs, R., & Dresler, M. (2017). The sleep EEG spectrum is a sexually dimorphic marker of general intelligence. Scientific Reports, 7(1), [18070].