Quantitative and Qualitative Representation of Introductory and Advanced EEG Concepts: An Exploration of Different EEG Setups

Shelby L. Hatton1, Shubham Rathore2, Ilya Vilinsky1,2, Annette Stowasser1,2
1Undergraduate Neuroscience Program, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221; 2Biology Department, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221.


Electroencephalograms (EEGs) are the gold standard test used in the medical field to diagnose epilepsy and aid in the diagnosis of many other neurological and mental disorders. Growing in popularity in terms of nonmedical applications, the EEG is also used in research, neurofeedback, and brain-computer interface, making it increasingly relevant to student learning. Recent innovations have made EEG setups more accessible and affordable, thus allowing their integration into neuroscience educational settings. Introducing students to EEGs, however, can be daunting due to intricate setup protocols, individual variation, and potentially expensive equipment. This paper aims to provide guidance for introducing students and educators to fundamental beginning and advanced level EEG concepts. Specifically, this paper tested the potential of three different setups, with varying channel number and wired or wireless connectivity, for introducing students to qualitative and quantitative exploration of alpha enhancement when eyes are closed, and observation of the alpha/beta anterior to posterior gradient. The setups were compared to determine their relative advantages and their robustness in detecting these well-established parameters. The basic 1- or 2-channel setups are sufficient for observing alpha and beta waves, while more advanced systems containing 8 or 16 channels are required for consistent observation of an anterior-posterior gradient. In terms of localization, the 16-channel setup, in principle, was more adept. The 8-channel setup, however, was more effective than the 16-channel setup with regards to displaying the anterior to posterior gradient. Thus, an 8-channel setup is sufficient in an education setting to display these known trends. Modification of the 16-channel setup may provide a better observation of the anterior to posterior gradient.