EEG alpha activity reflects attentional demands, and beta activity reflects emotional and cognitive processes. Ray, W. and Cole, H. Science, 228:750--752, May, 1985.
abstract   bibtex   
Two experiments were designed to examine the effects of attentional demands on the electroencephalogram during cognitive and emotional tasks. We found an interaction of task with hemisphere as well as more overall parietal alpha for tasks not requiring attention to the environment, such as mental arithmetic, than for those requiring such attention. Differential hemispheric activation for beta was found most strongly in the temporal areas for emotionally positive or negative tasks and in the parietal areas for cognitive tasks.
@article{ Ray_Cole85a,
  author = {Ray, W.J. and Cole, H.W.},
  title = {{{E}{E}{G} alpha activity reflects attentional demands, and beta
	activity reflects emotional and cognitive processes}},
  journal = {Science},
  year = {1985},
  volume = {228},
  pages = {750--752},
  month = {May},
  abstract = {Two experiments were designed to examine the effects of attentional
	demands on the electroencephalogram during cognitive and emotional
	tasks. We found an interaction of task with hemisphere as well as
	more overall parietal alpha for tasks not requiring attention to
	the environment, such as mental arithmetic, than for those requiring
	such attention. Differential hemispheric activation for beta was
	found most strongly in the temporal areas for emotionally positive
	or negative tasks and in the parietal areas for cognitive tasks.}
}
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