Choosing MUSE: Validation of a Low-Cost, Portable EEG System for ERP Research

Front Neurosci. 2017 Mar 10;11:109. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00109. eCollection 2017.


In recent years there has been an increase in the number of portable low-cost electroencephalographic (EEG) systems available to researchers. However, to date the validation of the use of low-cost EEG systems has focused on continuous recording of EEG data and/or the replication of large system EEG setups reliant on event-markers to afford examination of event-related brain potentials (ERP). Here, we demonstrate that it is possible to conduct ERP research without being reliant on event markers using a portable MUSE EEG system and a single computer. Specifically, we report the results of two experiments using data collected with the MUSE EEG system-one using the well-known visual oddball paradigm and the other using a standard reward-learning task. Our results demonstrate that we could observe and quantify the N200 and P300 ERP components in the visual oddball task and the reward positivity (the mirror opposite component to the feedback-related negativity) in the reward-learning task. Specifically, single sample t-tests of component existence (all p's < 0.05), computation of Bayesian credible intervals, and 95% confidence intervals all statistically verified the existence of the N200, P300, and reward positivity in all analyses. We provide with this research paper an open source website with all the instructions, methods, and software to replicate our findings and to provide researchers with an easy way to use the MUSE EEG system for ERP research. Importantly, our work highlights that with a single computer and a portable EEG system such as the MUSE one can conduct ERP research with ease thus greatly extending the possible use of the ERP methodology to a variety of novel contexts.

Keywords: EEG; ERP; cognitive science; executive function; portable electronics.