ERP Components: The Ups and Downs of Brainwave Recordings

Emily S. Kappenman and Steven J. Luck

in The Oxford Handbook of Event-Related Potential Components

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195374148
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 ERP Components: The Ups and Downs of Brainwave Recordings

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
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This chapter provides a framework for understanding, interpreting, and using event-related potential (ERP) components in the broad domain of mind, brain, and behavior sciences. The first section defines the term ERP component, describing the neural events that give rise to ERP components and explaining how multiple components sum together to form the observed ERP waveform. The next section describes the problems involved in isolating individual ERP components from the observed waveform, which is often much more difficult than researchers realize. This is followed by a discussion of the challenges involved in linking an ERP component with a specific neural or psychological process and then using this link to answer broader questions about the mind and brain. The chapter concludes with a discussion of what types of questions are most easily answered with ERPs and the approaches that have proven effective in overcoming the challenges of the technique.

Keywords: event-related potential; ERP component; peaks; waves; reverse inference

Article.  20889 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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