Direct brain recordings fuel advances in cognitive electrophysiology

Trends Cogn Sci. 2010 Apr;14(4):162-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.01.005. Epub 2010 Feb 25.


Electrocorticographic brain recordings in patients with surgically implanted electrodes have recently emerged as a powerful tool for examining the neural basis of human cognition. These recordings measure the electrical activity of the brain directly, and thus provide data with higher temporal and spatial resolution than other human neuroimaging techniques. Here we review recent research in this area and in particular we explain how electrocorticographic recordings have provided insight into the neural basis of human working memory, episodic memory, language, and spatial cognition. In some cases this research has identified patterns of human brain activity that were unexpected on the basis of studies in animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography* / instrumentation
  • Electroencephalography* / methods
  • Electrophysiology* / instrumentation
  • Electrophysiology* / methods
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Memory / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology