Cognitive Behavior Classification from Scalp EEG Signals

Dino Dvorak, Andrea Shang, Samah Abdel-Baki, Wendy Suzuki, Andre A. Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electroencephalography (EEG) has become increasingly valuable outside of its traditional use in neurology. EEG is now used for neuropsychiatric diagnosis, neurological evaluation of traumatic brain injury, neurotherapy, gaming, neurofeedback, mindfulness, and cognitive enhancement training. The trend to increase the number of EEG electrodes, the development of novel analytical methods, and the availability of large data sets has created a data analysis challenge to find the 'signal of interest' that conveys the most information about ongoing cognitive effort. Accordingly, we compare three common types of neural synchrony measures that are applied to EEG - power analysis, phase locking, and phase-amplitude coupling to assess which analytical measure provides the best separation between EEG signals that were recorded, while healthy subjects performed eight cognitive tasks - Hopkins Verbal Learning Test and its delayed version, Stroop Test, Symbol Digit Modality Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Trail Marking Test, Digit Span Test, and Benton Visual Retention Test. We find that of the three analytical methods, phase-amplitude coupling, specifically theta (4-7 Hz) - high gamma (70-90 Hz) obtained from frontal and parietal EEG electrodes provides both the largest separation between the EEG during cognitive tasks and also the highest classification accuracy between pairs of tasks. We also find that phase-locking analysis provides the most distinct clustering of tasks based on their utilization of long-term memory. Finally, we show that phase-amplitude coupling is the least sensitive to contamination by intense jaw-clenching muscle artifact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-739
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Electroencephalography
  • cognition
  • muscle artifact
  • synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • General Neuroscience
  • Internal Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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