Electroencephalogram (‘EEG’) is a non-invasive technique for measuring brain activity. It involves placing small sensors on the head that record changes in potential difference (measured in micro-volts). This electrical activity originates in the brain and therefore provides a unique insight how the brain reacts to external stimuli. It is a completely safe and painless procedure. Click here for more information about how EEG is recorded.
EEG is a particularly useful tool in the discipline of cognitive science, as it can reveal changes in brain state associated with differing levels of arousal or under different experimental conditions. It operates with excellent temporal precision (recording data at a rate of up to 2000 data points per second), and therefore reveals much about the chronology of mental processes. Much psychological research is based on measuring the speed and accuracy of participants’ responses, i.e. recording how long it takes to press a button in response to a particular stimulus. EEG can expand upon this method of indexing cognitive processing by showing us what happens in the brain before, during and after a response button is pressed.
We have an active EEG research group in the department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield. We use EEG to address a wide-range of questions, including: Does the brain knows (before we do) that we are going to make an error? What changes take place in the brain when we see a target that we’ve been searching for? Why does a cue about the location of a target that comes from someone’s eyes affect the brain differently to a cue that comes from an arrow? How can we apply new types of analysis to identify which areas of the brain are active while we are at rest? We are also interested in using EEG to identify how brain activity differs in those who have developmental disorders (e.g. dyslexia and autism ), and in identifying neurological markers for atypical brain development.
Our equipment and skills
The Department of Psychology houses two state-of-the-art high density (128 channel) EEG systems (Biosemi Active II and Electrical Geodiscs). We use a range of techniques to analyse data including; event related potentials (ERPs), dipole modelling, spectral and wavelet analyses, and independent component analysis.
EEG reading group
The EEG reading group meets once a month in the department of Psychology to discuss EEG-based journal articles. The aims of the group are three-fold: to provide members of the University with the opportunity to learn about EEG and to explore whether it may play a role in their own research; to provide staff and students who have varying levels of EEG expertise with an opportunity to discuss recent developments in the field; and to act as a forum for those of us who are actively involved in EEG research to discuss our designs, data and results.
If you would like to join the group, please contact Elizabeth Milne. Scroll down for a list of papers that have been / will be discussed.
Contact for further information
If you would like further information about EEG research at the University of Sheffield, if you are an academic who would like to collaborate with EEG researchers, or if you are interested in being a volunteer in one of our research projects and experiencing EEG for yourself, please contact Dr Elizabeth Milne .
Reading group papers
11th October (presented by Elizabeth Milne):
Rugg et al. 1987, Neuropsychologia
8th November (presented by Elizabeth Milne):
Brandt et al. 1991, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
13th December (presented by Ben Dornan):
Farwell & Donchin, 1988, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
14th February (presented by Ying Zheng)
Okun & Lampl, 2008, Nature Neuroscience
14th March (presented by Yanjing Wu)
van Turennout et al. 2008, Science
18th April (presented by Stephanie Dunn)
Hilimire et al. 2012, Psychophysiology
19th June (presented by Elizabeth Milne)
Makeig et al. 2002, Science
18th July (presented by Alex Zaytsev)
Pfurtscheller et al. 2006, Neuroimage
5th September (presented by Abby Dickinson)
Grice et al. 2001, Neuroreport
10th October (presented by Liat Levita)
Potentiation of the Early Visual Response to Learned Danger Signals in Adults and Adolescents
14th November (presented by Jenny Thomson)
Behavioural effects of trancranial direct current stimulation induced dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plasticity in alcohol dependence.
Croce de Silva et al. 2013, J. Physiol Paris
10th December (presented by Liz Milne and Jenny Thomson)
Live demonstration of tDCS and mobile EEG (+ mince pies!)
10th April 2014 (presented by Liz Milne)
Werkle-Bergner et al. Clinical Neurophysiology, 2009
Thursday 1st May (presented by Dan Denis)
Canon et al. 2014 PLOS ONE
Thursday 5th June (presented by Lizzy Kirkham)
Howells et al. 2012, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Thursday 10th July (presented by Tom Stafford)
King and Dehaene, 2014, Trends in Cognitive Sciences