Selection of independent components representing event-related brain potentials: A data-driven approach for greater objectivity
SourceNeuroImage, 54, 3, (2011), pp. 2105-2115
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC BI
SubjectBiological psychology; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control; Biologische psychologie
Following the development of increasingly precise measurement instruments and fine-grain analysis tools for electroencephalographic (EEG) data, analysis of single-trial event-related EEG has considerably widened the utility of this non-invasive method to investigate brain activity. Recently, independent component analysis (ICA) has become one of the most prominent techniques for increasing the feasibility of single-trial EEG. This blind source separation technique extracts statistically independent components (ICs) from the EEG raw signal. By restricting the signal analysis to those ICs representing the processes of interest, single-trial analysis becomes more flexible. Still, the selection-criteria for in- or exclusion of certain ICs are largely subjective and unstandardized, as is the actual selection process itself. We present a rationale for a bottom-up, data-driven IC selection approach, using clear-cut inferential statistics on both temporal and spatial information to identify components that significantly contribute to a certain event-related brain potential (ERP). With time-range being the only necessary input, this approach considerably reduces the pre-assumptions for IC selection and promotes greater objectivity of the selection process itself. To test the validity of the approach presented here, we present results from a simulation and re-analyze data from a previously published ERP experiment on error processing. We compare the ERP-based IC selections made by our approach to the selection made based on mere signal power. The comparison of ERP integrity, signal-to-noise ratio, and single-trial properties of the back-projected ICs outlines the validity of the approach presented here. In addition, functional validity of the extracted error-related EEG signal is tested by investigating whether it is predictive for subsequent behavioural adjustments.
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