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EEG Laboratory

Electroencephalography

Billions of nerve cells work together in the brain to coordinate sensory input, thoughts, and emotions each and every moment. The communication of the neurons among each other is carried out via electrochemical transmission. Electroencephalography (EEG) makes it possible to measure the electrical activity of cell groups as changes of electrical potentials on the scalp.

The EEG is the earliest non-invasive methodology available to measure brain activity. It can be used during sleep, at rest or while doing tasks in the lab. The method's high temporal precision (with a resolution of under 1 ms) makes it irreplaceable in clinical settings and in experimental research on healthy study participants right until today.

Das EEG Labor | EEG Laboratory
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

Our Lab

The EEG Lab of the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development offers three measurement cabins. Each is shielded accoutically and against electromagnetic radiation in order to carry out EEG measurements that are as noise-free as possible. A modular amplification system allows EEG recordings of high spatial resolution (32–128 channels per participant). Further systems for the simultaneous recording of other biosignals are also available. For example, the heart can be monitored by an electrocardiogram (ECG), muscle activity can be measured by an electromyogram (EMG), and breathing, skin conductance, and pulse can also be assessed. Using a 3D electrode localization system, it also possible to locate the position of the electrodes in three-dimensional space. In combination with structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) this allows an exact reconstruction of the electrical activity in the source space.

Method

Preparation and Measurement

An EEG measurement from the scalp is completely safe and non-invasive. However, some preparation is necessary. In our EEG lab, measurements are carried out with (passive and active) electrodes that are integrated in elastic caps. In order to achieve good contact between the scalp and the electrodes, we use an electrode gel that is spread into the intervening space. The gels we use are hypoallergenic and well-tolerated as a rule. After you have put on the cap, the electrodes will be hooked up to the measurement system by cables. You will then be seated in one of the EEG cabins, and the experiment can begin. Images are shown on a computer screen, for instance, and you will be asked to react by pressing a button. The experimental content, sequence, and duration will vary according to the topic of the study.

After the Measurement

Haarwaschgelegenheit | Washing unit
© MPIB

When the EEG measurement is completed, you can use the wash basins to wash the remaining electrode gel out of your hair. Throughout the entire preparation and measurement phase, you will be looked after by personnel trained specifically for EEG measurement procedures.

Head of Lab

EEG Cap

Im EEG-Labor
© D. A.

Preparation of an EEG cap