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J Neurophysiol. 2019 Jul 3. doi: 10.1152/jn.00868.2018. [Epub ahead of print]

A Novel EEG Paradigm to Simultaneously and Rapidly Assess the Functioning of Auditory and Visual Pathways.

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Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California, Merced, United States.
University of California, Davis, United States.
Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior and Center for Mind & Brain, University of California, United States.


Objective assessment of the sensory pathways is crucial for understanding their development across the lifespan and how they may be affected by neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism) and neurological pathologies (e.g., stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.). Quick and passive measurements, for example using electroencephalography (EEG), are especially important when working with infants and young children, and with patient populations having communication deficits (e.g., aphasia). However, many EEG paradigms are limited to measuring activity from one sensory domain at a time, may be time consuming, and target only a subset of possible responses from that particular sensory domain (e.g., only auditory brainstem responses or only auditory P1-N1-P2 evoked potentials). Thus, we developed a new multisensory paradigm that enables simultaneous, robust, and rapid (6-12 minute) measurements of both auditory and visual EEG activity, including auditory brainstem responses (ABRs), auditory and visual evoked potentials, as well as auditory and visual steady-state responses. This novel method allows us to examine neural activity at various stations along the auditory and visual hierarchies with an ecologically valid continuous speech stimulus, while an unrelated video is playing. Both the speech stimulus and the video can be customized for any population of interest. Furthermore, by using two simultaneous visual steady-state stimulation rates, we demonstrate the ability of this paradigm to track both parafoveal and peripheral visual processing concurrently. We report results from twenty-five healthy young adults, which validate this new paradigm.


Cheech; auditory; evoked potentials; steady-state responses; visual


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