Adaptive spatial filters (beamformers) have gained popularity as an effective method for the localization of brain activity from magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. Among the attractive features of some beamforming methods are high spatial resolution and no localization bias even in the presence of random noise. A drawback common to all beamforming methods, however, is significant degradation in performance in the presence of sources with high temporal correlations. Using numerical simulations and examples of auditory and visual evoked field responses, we demonstrate that, at typical signal-to-noise levels, the complete attenuation of fully correlated brain activity is less likely to occur, although significant localization and amplitude biases may occur. We compared various methods for correcting these biases and found the coherent source suppression model (CSSM) (Dalal et al., 2006) to be the most effective, with small biases for widely separated sources (e.g., bilateral auditory areas), however, amplitude biases increased systematically as distance between the sources was decreased. We assessed the performance and systematic biases that may result from the use of this model, and confirmed our findings with real examples of correlated brain activity in bilateral occipital and inferior temporal areas evoked by visually presented faces in a group of 21 adults. We demonstrated the ability to localize source activity in both regions, including correlated sources that are in close proximity ( approximately 3 cm) in bilateral primary visual cortex when using a priori information regarding source location. We conclude that CSSM, when carefully applied, can significantly improve localization accuracy, although amplitude biases may remain.
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