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Psychophysiology. 1993 Jan;30(1):90-7.

On the neural generators of the P300 component of the event-related potential.

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Cognitive Neurophysiology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The triarchic model of P300 amplitude (Johnson, 1986, 1988a) postulated that the overall amplitude of the P300 recorded at any given electrode site represented the summation of activity from different neural generators, each related to the processing of a different type of information. However, neither of these original accounts provided an explicit description of the methods required to establish experimentally the presence of multiple neural sources. This paper reviews the triarchic amplitude model, the subsequently obtained data that support the postulated presence of multiple generators underlying the P300, and the methods used to demonstrate the presence of these multiple sources. These methods are straightforward because it is only necessary to show that the portions of P300 amplitude associated with different experimental variables have different scalp distributions. The implications of the multiple-generator basis of P300 on such factors as component definition, neural source analyses, and the cognitive processes underlying its activity are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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