An Analysis of EEG Spectral Power Between Laboratory and Natural Environments




Edwards, Dalton

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Traditional electroencephalography (EEG) studies have been limited by logistical and practical issues that confine data collection to a structured laboratory setup. In this study we evaluated how externally valid EEG recordings in lab environments are. New mobile EEG systems provide flexibility in EEG recording procedures that allow researchers to venture out of the lab and collect data in more diverse environments. The present study used an open source commercially-available bioelectric amplifier system by OpenBCI to record EEG data through a mobile setup. Resting state EEG data were recorded from a sample of college students in a lab and an outdoor natural environment on Texas State University’s campus. Additionally, EEG data were recorded while participants performed a working memory task, the paced auditory serial addition task (PASAT), in a lab and an outdoor natural environment. EEG spectral power was computed for the frontal midline site Fz, as well as the posterior site Oz via Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) for all conditions. Analysis focused on alpha, theta, and low beta ranges as per previous literature regarding EEG band power analysis during resting state, working memory and executive functioning tasks. Paired-sample t-tests and repeated measures ANOVAs did not show significant differences between the two environments concerning amplitude changes for the three bands of interest. Furthermore, scores on the PASAT also did not differ between environments. These results suggest that brain activity may not be significantly influenced by environmental changes.



EEG, Spectral power, Natural environment, Attention, Working memory, Executive function


Edwards, D. J. (2020). <i>An Analysis of EEG Spectral Power Between Laboratory and Natural Environments</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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