Automated identification of neural correlates of continuous variables

J Neurosci Methods. 2015 Mar 15:242:65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.12.012. Epub 2014 Dec 26.


Background: The electroencephalogram (EEG) may be described by a large number of different feature types and automated feature selection methods are needed in order to reliably identify features which correlate with continuous independent variables.

New method: A method is presented for the automated identification of features that differentiate two or more groups in neurological datasets based upon a spectral decomposition of the feature set. Furthermore, the method is able to identify features that relate to continuous independent variables.

Results: The proposed method is first evaluated on synthetic EEG datasets and observed to reliably identify the correct features. The method is then applied to EEG recorded during a music listening task and is observed to automatically identify neural correlates of music tempo changes similar to neural correlates identified in a previous study. Finally, the method is applied to identify neural correlates of music-induced affective states. The identified neural correlates reside primarily over the frontal cortex and are consistent with widely reported neural correlates of emotions.

Comparison with existing methods: The proposed method is compared to the state-of-the-art methods of canonical correlation analysis and common spatial patterns, in order to identify features differentiating synthetic event-related potentials of different amplitudes and is observed to exhibit greater performance as the number of unique groups in the dataset increases.

Conclusions: The proposed method is able to identify neural correlates of continuous variables in EEG datasets and is shown to outperform canonical correlation analysis and common spatial patterns.

Keywords: Eigen-decomposition; Electroencephalogram (EEG); Feature selection; Neural correlates.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Music
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*