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Front Neurosci. 2018 Jul 3;12:368. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00368. eCollection 2018.

From ERPs to MVPA Using the Amsterdam Decoding and Modeling Toolbox (ADAM).

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Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Institute Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (iBBA), VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


In recent years, time-resolved multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) has gained much popularity in the analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. However, MVPA may appear daunting to those who have been applying traditional analyses using event-related potentials (ERPs) or event-related fields (ERFs). To ease this transition, we recently developed the Amsterdam Decoding and Modeling (ADAM) toolbox in MATLAB. ADAM is an entry-level toolbox that allows a direct comparison of ERP/ERF results to MVPA results using any dataset in standard EEGLAB or Fieldtrip format. The toolbox performs and visualizes multiple-comparison corrected group decoding and forward encoding results in a variety of ways, such as classifier performance across time, temporal generalization (time-by-time) matrices of classifier performance, channel tuning functions (CTFs) and topographical maps of (forward-transformed) classifier weights. All analyses can be performed directly on raw data or can be preceded by a time-frequency decomposition of the data in which case the analyses are performed separately on different frequency bands. The figures ADAM produces are publication-ready. In the current manuscript, we provide a cookbook in which we apply a decoding analysis to a publicly available MEG/EEG dataset involving the perception of famous, non-famous and scrambled faces. The manuscript covers the steps involved in single subject analysis and shows how to perform and visualize a subsequent group-level statistical analysis. The processing pipeline covers computation and visualization of group ERPs, ERP difference waves, as well as MVPA decoding results. It ends with a comparison of the differences and similarities between EEG and MEG decoding results. The manuscript has a level of description that allows application of these analyses to any dataset in EEGLAB or Fieldtrip format.


EEG signal processing; ERPs; MVPA; decoding; temporal generalization; time-frequency analysis

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