Integration of fMRI and simultaneous EEG: towards a comprehensive understanding of localization and time-course of brain activity in target detection

Neuroimage. 2004 May;22(1):83-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.10.051.


fMRI and EEG are complimentary methods for the analysis of brain activity since each method has its strength where the other one has limits: The spatial resolution is thus in the range of millimeters with fMRI and the time resolution is in the range of milliseconds with EEG. For a comprehensive understanding of brain activity in target detection, nine healthy subjects (age 24.2 +/- 2.9) were investigated with simultaneous EEG (27 electrodes) and fMRI using an auditory oddball paradigm. As a first step, event-related potentials, measured inside the scanner, have been compared with the potentials recorded in a directly preceding session in front of the scanner. Attenuated amplitudes were found inside the scanner for the earlier N1/P2 component but not for the late P300 component. Second, an independent analysis of the localizations of the fMRI activations and the current source density as revealed by low resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) has been done. Concordant activations were found in most regions, including the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), the supplementary motor area (SMA)/anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the insula, and the middle frontal gyrus, with a mean Euclidean distance of 16.0 +/- 6.6 mm between the BOLD centers of gravity and the LORETA-maxima. Finally, a time-course analysis based on the current source density maxima was done. It revealed different time-course patterns in the left and right hemisphere with earlier activations in frontal and parietal regions in the right hemisphere. The results suggest that the combination of EEG and fMRI permits an improved understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of brain activity.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood


  • Oxygen