Introducing the Event Related Fixed Interval Area (ERFIA) Multilevel Technique: a Method to Analyze the Complete Epoch of Event-Related Potentials at Single Trial Level

Catherine J. Vossen*, Helen G. M. Vossen, Marco A. E. Marcus, Jim van Os, Richel Lousberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

In analyzing time-locked event-related potentials (ERPs), many studies have focused on specific peaks and their differences between experimental conditions. In theory, each latency point after a stimulus contains potentially meaningful information, regardless of whether it is peak-related. Based on this assumption, we introduce a new concept which allows for flexible investigation of the whole epoch and does not primarily focus on peaks and their corresponding latencies. For each trial, the entire epoch is partitioned into event-related fixed-interval areas under the curve (ERFIAs). These ERFIAs, obtained at single trial level, act as dependent variables in a multilevel random regression analysis. The ERFIA multilevel method was tested in an existing ERP dataset of 85 healthy subjects, who underwent a rating paradigm of 150 painful and non-painful somatosensory electrical stimuli. We modeled the variability of each consecutive ERFIA with a set of predictor variables among which were stimulus intensity and stimulus number. Furthermore, we corrected for latency variations of the P2 (260 ms). With respect to known relationships between stimulus intensity, habituation, and pain-related somatosensory ERP, the ERFIA method generated highly comparable results to those of commonly used methods. Notably, effects on stimulus intensity and habituation were also observed in non-peak-related latency ranges. Further, cortical processing of actual stimulus intensity depended on the intensity of the previous stimulus, which may reflect pain-memory processing. In conclusion, the ERFIA multilevel method is a promising tool that can be used to study event-related cortical processing.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere79905
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2013

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