Inter- versus intra-subject variance in topographic mapping of the electroencephalogram

Clin Electroencephalogr. 1989 Oct;20(4):248-53. doi: 10.1177/155005948902000412.


The variability of the normal topographic EEG distribution between a quiet, eyes closed, resting state and the performance of cognitive tasks (listening to a story or music) was studied in 20 normal (10 male) right-handed college students or graduates ages 18-40 yrs. Amplitude changes in the topographic frequency distribution (2.5-7 SD) of alpha frequency band (8-13 Hz) were noted between tasks and resting state in individual subjects. When group data for the resting versus listening states were compared, no statistical differences could be demonstrated. The group variability was 50% of the power of the resting record. Repeat studies in 10 subjects demonstrated a test-retest variance of 10% of the mean individual power. The data suggest that inter-subject differences in the alpha frequency and individual topographic differences will require careful normalization for development of baseline "brain maps" to serve as a standard for investigation of disease states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Normal Distribution