An information theoretic approach to EEG-fMRI integration of visually evoked responses

Dirk Ostwald, Camillo Porcaro, Andrew Bagshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)


The integration of signals from electro-encephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), acquired simultaneously from the same observer, holds great potential for the elucidation of the neurobiological underpinnings of human brain function. However, the most appropriate way in which to combine the data in order to achieve this goal is not clear. Here, we apply a novel route to the integration of simultaneously acquired multimodal brain imaging data. We adopt a theoretical framework developed in the study of neuronal population codes which explicitly takes into account the experimentally observed stimulus-response signal probability distributions using the concept of mutual information. We study the implications of this framework using simulated data sets generated from a set of linear Gaussian models, and apply the framework to EEG-fMRI data acquired during checkerboard stimulation of low and high contrast. We focus our evaluation on single-trial time-domain signal features from both modalities and provide evidence for the informativeness of a subset of these features with respect to the stimulus and each other. Specifically, the framework was able to identify the contrast dependency of the haemodynamic response and the P100 peak of the visual evoked potential, and showed that combining EEG and fMRI time-domain features by quantifying the information in their joint distribution was more informative than treating each one in isolation. In addition, the effect of different pre-processing strategies for EEG-fMRI data can be assessed quantitatively, indicating the improvements to be gained by more advanced methods. We conclude that the information theoretic framework is a promising methodology to quantify the relative importance of different response features in neural coding and neurovascular coupling, as well as the success of data pre-processing strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-516
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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