Event-related potential analyses via single-subject topographic classification.


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Event-related potential analyses via single-subject topographic classification.
Title of the conference
OHBM 2010, 16th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping
Tzovara A., Murray M., Plomb G., Herzog M., Michel C., De Lucia M.
Barcelona, Spain, June 6-12, 2010
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Issued date
Introduction: Responses to external stimuli are typically investigated by averaging peri-stimulus electroencephalography (EEG) epochs in order to derive event-related potentials (ERPs) across the electrode montage, under the assumption that signals that are related to the external stimulus are fixed in time across trials. We demonstrate the applicability of a single-trial model based on patterns of scalp topographies (De Lucia et al, 2007) that can be used for ERP analysis at the single-subject level. The model is able to classify new trials (or groups of trials) with minimal a priori hypotheses, using information derived from a training dataset. The features used for the classification (the topography of responses and their latency) can be neurophysiologically interpreted, because a difference in scalp topography indicates a different configuration of brain generators. An above chance classification accuracy on test datasets implicitly demonstrates the suitability of this model for EEG data.
Methods: The data analyzed in this study were acquired from two separate visual evoked potential (VEP) experiments. The first entailed passive presentation of checkerboard stimuli to each of the four visual quadrants (hereafter, "Checkerboard Experiment") (Plomp et al, submitted). The second entailed active discrimination of novel versus repeated line drawings of common objects (hereafter, "Priming Experiment") (Murray et al, 2004). Four subjects per experiment were analyzed, using approx. 200 trials per experimental condition. These trials were randomly separated in training (90%) and testing (10%) datasets in 10 independent shuffles.
In order to perform the ERP analysis we estimated the statistical distribution of voltage topographies by a Mixture of Gaussians (MofGs), which reduces our original dataset to a small number of representative voltage topographies. We then evaluated statistically the degree of presence of these template maps across trials and whether and when this was different across experimental conditions. Based on these differences, single-trials or sets of a few single-trials were classified as belonging to one or the other experimental condition. Classification performance was assessed using the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve.
Results: For the Checkerboard Experiment contrasts entailed left vs. right visual field presentations for upper and lower quadrants, separately. The average posterior probabilities, indicating the presence of the computed template maps in time and across trials revealed significant differences starting at ~60-70 ms post-stimulus. The average ROC curve area across all four subjects was 0.80 and 0.85 for upper and lower quadrants, respectively and was in all cases significantly higher than chance (unpaired t-test, p<0.0001).
In the Priming Experiment, we contrasted initial versus repeated presentations of visual object stimuli. Their posterior probabilities revealed significant differences, which started at 250ms post-stimulus onset. The classification accuracy rates with single-trial test data were at chance level. We therefore considered sub-averages based on five single trials. We found that for three out of four subjects' classification rates were significantly above chance level (unpaired t-test, p<0.0001).
Conclusions: The main advantage of the present approach is that it is based on topographic features that are readily interpretable along neurophysiologic lines. As these maps were previously normalized by the overall strength of the field potential on the scalp, a change in their presence across trials and between conditions forcibly reflects a change in the underlying generator configurations. The temporal periods of statistical difference between conditions were estimated for each training dataset for ten shuffles of the data. Across the ten shuffles and in both experiments, we observed a high level of consistency in the temporal periods over which the two conditions differed. With this method we are able to analyze ERPs at the single-subject level providing a novel tool to compare normal electrophysiological responses versus single cases that cannot be considered part of any cohort of subjects. This aspect promises to have a strong impact on both basic and clinical research.
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16/02/2011 10:11
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20/08/2019 14:19
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