Using Mobile EEG to Investigate Alpha and Beta Asymmetries During Hand and Foot Use

Front Neurosci. 2020 Feb 14;14:109. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00109. eCollection 2020.


The Edinburgh Handedness Inventory (EHI) and the Waterloo Footedness Questionnaire (WFQ) are two of the most widely used questionnaires to assess lateralized everyday behavior in human participants. However, it is unclear to what extent the specific behavior assessed in these questionnaires elicit lateralized neural activity when performed in real-life situations. To illuminate this unresolved issue, we assessed EEG alpha and beta asymmetries during real-life performance of the behaviors assessed in the EHI and WFQ using a mobile EEG system. This methodology provides high ecological validity for studying neural correlates of motor behavior under more naturalistic conditions. Our results indicate that behavioral performance of items of both the EHI and WFQ differentiate between left- and right-handers and left- and right-footers on the neural level, especially in the alpha frequency band. These results were unaffected by movement parameters. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that neural activity elicited specifically during left-sided task performance provides predictive power for the EHI or WFQ score of the participants. Overall, our results show that these prominent questionnaires not only distinguish between different motor preferences on the behavioral level, but also on the neurophysiological level. Furthermore, we could show that mobile EEG systems are a powerful tool to investigate motor asymmetries in ecologically valid situations outside of the laboratory setting. Future research should focus on other lateralized behavioral phenotypes in real-life settings to provide more insights into lateralized motor functions.

Keywords: EHI; Edinburgh Handedness Inventory; WFQ; Waterloo Footedness Questionnaire; asymmetry; laterality; oscillations.