Evaluation of different cortical source localization methods using simulated and experimental EEG data

Neuroimage. 2005 Apr 1;25(2):369-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.11.036.


Different cortical source localization methods have been developed to directly link the scalp potentials with the cortical activities. Up to now, these methods are the only possible solution to noninvasively investigate cortical activities with both high spatial and time resolutions. However, the application of these methods is hindered by the fact that they have not been rigorously evaluated nor compared. In this paper, the performances of several source localization methods (moving dipoles, minimum Lp norm, and low resolution tomography (LRT) with Lp norm, p equal to 1, 1.5, and 2) were evaluated by using simulated scalp EEG data, scalp somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), and upper limb motor-related potentials (MRPs) obtained on human subjects (all with 163 scalp electrodes). By using simulated EEG data, we first evaluated the source localization ability of the above methods quantitatively. Subsequently, the performance of the various methods was evaluated qualitatively by using experimental SEPs and MRPs. Our results show that the overall LRT Lp norm method with p equal to 1 has a better source localization ability than any of the other investigated methods and provides physiologically meaningful reconstruction results. Our evaluation results provide useful information for choosing cortical source localization approaches for future EEG/MEG studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans