A new method is developed for analyzing the time-varying spectral content of EEG data collected in cognitive tasks. The goal is to extract and summarize the most salient features of numerical results, which span space, time, frequency, task conditions, and multiple subjects. Direct generalization of an established approach for analyzing event-related potentials, which uses sequential PCA followed by ANOVA to test for differences between conditions across subjects, gave unacceptable results. The new method, termed STAT-PCA, advocates statistical testing for differences between conditions within single subjects, followed by sequential PCA across subjects. In contrast to PCA-ANOVA, it is demonstrated that STAT-PCA gives results which: 1) isolate task-related spectral changes, 2) are insensitive to the precise definition of baseline power, 3) are stable under deletion of a random subject, and 4) are interpretable in terms of the group-averaged power. Furthermore, STAT-PCA permits the detection of activity that is not only different between conditions, but also common to both conditions, providing a complete yet parsimonious view of the data. It is concluded that STAT-PCA is well suited for analyzing the time-varying spectral content of EEG during cognitive tasks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience