Electroencephalography (EEG) and Event‐Related Potentials (ERPs) with Human Participants

Gregory A. Light1, Lisa E. Williams2, Falk Minow3, Joyce Sprock1, Anthony Rissling1, Richard Sharp1, Neal R. Swerdlow1, David L. Braff1

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 2 Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 3 Easycap, Herrsching‐Breitbrunn, Germany
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 6.25
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0625s52
Online Posting Date:  July, 2010
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Abstract

Understanding the basic neural processes that underlie complex higher‐order cognitive operations and functional domains is a fundamental goal of cognitive neuroscience. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non‐invasive and relatively inexpensive method for assessing neurophysiological function that can be used to achieve this goal. EEG measures the electrical activity of large, synchronously firing populations of neurons in the brain with electrodes placed on the scalp. This unit outlines the basics of setting up an EEG experiment with human participants, including equipment, and a step‐by‐step guide to applying and preparing an electrode cap. Also included are support protocols for two event‐related potential (ERP) paradigms, P50 suppression, and mismatch negativity (MMN), which are measures of early sensory processing. These paradigms can be used to assess the integrity of early sensory processing in normal individuals and clinical populations, such as individuals with schizophrenia. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 52:6.25.1‐6.25.24. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: electroencephalography (EEG); sensory gating; P50 suppression; mismatch negativity (MMN); schizophrenia

     
 
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Preparation of Human Subjects for EEG Studies
  • Alternate Protocol 1: P50 Suppression, a Measure of Sensory Gating
  • Alternate Protocol 2: Mismatch Negativity (MMN), a Measure of Early Auditory Change Detection
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
     
 
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Materials

Basic Protocol 1: Preparation of Human Subjects for EEG Studies

  Materials
  • Human participants: if possible, participants should arrive with their hair washed without using additives like conditioner or hair styling products, as this helps significantly to achieve low impedances essential to EEG recording
  • Abrasive electrolyte gel (Abralyt or equivalent)
  • Mild detergent (e.g., children's shampoo)
  • Distilled water
  • Barbicide disinfectant solution
  • Electrically sheltered room/chamber (if available, suggested but not required)
  • Gauss meter with sensitivity to electrical frequency for your location (usually 50 to 60 Hz; e.g., EMF, Allied Products, or equivalent)
  • EEG acquisition software (e.g., Neuroscan, BioSemi, or equivalent)
  • Digital EEG amplifier (e.g., Neuroscan NuAmps, BioSemi, or equivalent)
  • Two computers (see EEG acquisition program documentation for system requirements)
  • Stimulus generator (e.g., EMG‐SR/SR‐HLAB System Stimulus Module or equivalent)
  • Stimulus generation software (e.g., E‐Prime, Presentation, or equivalent)
  • Electrode cap (Easycap or equivalent)
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Ten electrode adaptors of appropriate size for electrodes (e.g., Easycap)
  • Forty (more if high‐density recording is desired) Ag/AgCl sintered ring electrodes (e.g, Easycap)
  • Several cotton swabs with a free wooden end
  • Electrode washers of appropriate size for electrodes (e.g., Easycap)
  • 20‐ml customary syringes (without needle)
  • Electrode tester (UFI Checktrode or equivalent)
  • Foam insert earphones (E.A.R or equivalent; 3M), optional
  • Tissues or towel
  • Towel or cape to cover participant's clothes
  • Facilities and supplies for participants to wash hair after experiment: large sink, spray attachment for faucet, shampoo, conditioner, combs, towels, hair dryer, hand mirror (recommended but not required; participants can wash hair at home if not available)
  • Toothbrush

Alternate Protocol 1: P50 Suppression, a Measure of Sensory Gating

  • Program to deliver clicks as detailed above (this can be programmed in SDI, in the EEG acquisition program, or an external program such as E‐Prime; Psychology Software Tools)
  • Additional reagents and equipment for use of stand‐alone P50 recording and analysis system, LEA2000 (Olincy et al., in press)

Alternate Protocol 2: Mismatch Negativity (MMN), a Measure of Early Auditory Change Detection

  • Program to present standard and deviant stimuli spaced about 500 msec apart (see Additional Materials in protocol 2 for program suggestions)
  • Computer or TV screen to present distracter task; specific equipment needed depends on task employed
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Figures

Videos

Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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