Developmental changes in individual alpha frequency: recording EEG data during public engagement events

Turner, C. et al. (2023) Developmental changes in individual alpha frequency: recording EEG data during public engagement events. Imaging Neuroscience, 1, pp. 1-14. (doi: 10.1162/imag_a_00001) (PMID:37719836) (PMCID:PMC10503479)

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Statistical power in cognitive neuroimaging experiments is often very low. Low sample size can reduce the likelihood of detecting real effects (false negatives) and increase the risk of detecting non-existing effects by chance (false positives). Here we document our experience of leveraging a relatively unexplored method of collecting a large sample size for simple electroencephalography (EEG) studies: by recording EEG in the community during public engagement and outreach events. We collected data from 346 participants (189 females, age range 6-76 years) over 6 days, totalling 29 hours, at local science festivals. Alpha activity (6-15 Hz) was filtered from 30 seconds of signal, recorded from a single electrode placed between the occipital midline (Oz) and inion (Iz) while participants rested with their eyes closed. A total of 289 good quality datasets were obtained. Using this community-based approach, we were able to replicate controlled, lab-based findings: IAF increased during childhood, reaching a peak frequency of 10.28 Hz at 28.1 years old, and slowed again in middle and older age. Total alpha power decreased linearly, but the aperiodic-adjusted alpha power did not change over the lifespan. Aperiodic slopes and intercepts were highest in the youngest participants. There were no associations between these EEG indexes and self-reported fatigue, measured by the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory. Finally, we present a set of important considerations for researchers who wish to collect EEG data within public engagement and outreach environments.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [209209/Z/17/Z]. This project also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement [No. 794649 awarded to MR, and 897941 to MB].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thut, Professor Gregor and van der Plas, Mr Mircea and Hanzal, Mr Simon and Bracco, Dr Martina and Learmonth, Dr Gemma and Ruzzoli, Dr Manuela and Baylan, Dr Satu and Trajkovic, Jelena and Veniero, Dr Domenica and Keime, Miss Marine and Cruz, Dr Gabriela and McNeill, Dr Deborah and Turner, Mr Christopher
Authors: Turner, C., Baylan, S., Bracco, M., Cruz, G., Hanzal, S., Keime, M., Kuye, I., McNeill, D., Ng, Z., van der Plas, M., Ruzzoli, M., Thut, G., Trajkovic, J., Veniero, D., Wale, S. P., Whear, S., and Learmonth, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Imaging Neuroscience
Publisher:MIT Press
ISSN (Online):2837-6056
Published Online:19 July 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
First Published:First published in Imaging Neuroscience 1: 1-14
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300911Brain Rhythms in Altered Vision after Stroke (BRAVAS)Gemma LearmonthWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)209209/Z/17/ZPsychology
301604C-A Rythms - Ctrl CodeGregor ThutEuropean Commission (EC)794649SPN - Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi)