Detection of correlated sources in EEG using combination of beamforming and surface Laplacian methods

J Neurosci Methods. 2013 Aug 15;218(1):96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 Jun 11.


Beamforming offers a way to estimate the solution to the inverse problem in EEG and MEG but is also known to perform poorly in the presence of highly correlated sources, e.g. during binaural auditory stimulation, when both left and right primary auditory cortices are activated simultaneously. Surface Laplacian, or the second spatial derivative calculated from the electric potential, allows for deblurring of EEG potential recordings reducing the effects of low skull conductivity and is independent of the reference electrode location. We show that anatomically constrained beamforming in conjunction with the surface Laplacian allows for detection of both locations and dynamics of temporally correlated sources in EEG. Whole-head 122 channel binaural stimulus EEG data were simulated using a boundary element method (BEM) and realistic geometry forward model. We demonstrate that in contrast to conventional potential-based EEG beamforming, Laplacian beamforming allows to determine locations of correlated source dipoles without any a priori assumption about the number of sources. We also show (by providing simulations of auditory evoked potentials) that the dynamics at the detected source locations can be derived from subsets of electrodes. Deblurring auditory evoked potential maps subdivides EEG signals from each hemisphere and allows for the beamformer to be applied separately for left and right hemispheres.

Keywords: Auditory evoked potential; Beamforming; EEG; Electroencephalography; Inverse problem; Source reconstruction; Surface Laplacian.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*