The intracranial topography of the P3 event-related potential elicited during auditory oddball

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1990 Sep;76(3):235-48. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(90)90018-f.


In order to isolate the anatomical locus of neural activity primarily responsible for generating the scalp-recorded P3 (or P300), the topography of event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited during an auditory oddball task was compared between medial-to-lateral aspects of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes in 10 epileptic patients undergoing stereoelectroencephalography for seizure localization. Evidence of local ERP generation was obtained from each of these areas. Small amplitude P3-type potentials were sometimes observed to invert polarity across recording contacts in the frontal lobe. Large amplitude positive polarity P3-type components were observed in the lateral neocortex of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL), that rapidly attenuated in amplitude at more anterior, posterior, superior, inferior, and medial recording contacts. Large amplitude polarity inverting P3-type components were also observed to be highly localized to hippocampal contacts of temporal lobe electrodes. These data are discussed in the context of other recent studies of lesion effects, scalp topography, and intracranial recordings, and it is concluded that activity generated in the IPL is likely to make the major contribution to the scalp-recorded P3, with smaller contributions from these other sources. Finally, salient topographical differences between the intracranial distribution of the P3 and those of the N2 (or N200) and slow wave (SW) suggest that the generators of these components are not identical.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Scalp / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology