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Mobile steady-state evoked potential recording: dissociable neural effects of real-world navigation and visual stimulation.

J Neurosci Methods. 2019 Dec 3:108540. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.108540. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Dowsett J, Dieterich M, Taylor PCJ.
Publication Date: 2019

Abstract

Background

The ability to record brain activity in humans during movement, and in real world environments, is an important step towards understanding cognition. Electroencephalography (EEG) is well suited to mobile applications but suffers from the problem of artefacts introduced into the signal during movement. Steady state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) give an excellent signal-to-noise ratio and averaging a sufficient number of trials will eventually remove any noise not phase locked to the visual flicker.


New Method

Here we present a method for producing SSVEPs of real world environments using modified LCD shutter glasses, which are commonly used for 3D TV, by adapting the glass to flicker at neurophysiologically relevant frequencies (alpha band). Participants viewed a room whilst standing and walking. Either the left or right side of the room was illuminated, to test if it is possible to recover the resulting SSVEPs when walking, as well as to probe the effect of walking on neural activity. Additionally, by using a signal generator to produce “simulated SSVEPs” on the scalp we can demonstrate that this method is able to accurately recover evoked neural responses during walking.


Results

The amplitude of SSVEPs over right parietal cortex was reduced by walking. Furthermore, the waveform and phase of the SSVEPs is highly preserved between walking and standing, but was sensitive to whether the left or right side of the room was illuminated.


Conclusions

This method allows probing neural responses during natural movements within real environments, potentially at a wide range of frequencies.

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