Functional Source Separation improves the quality of single trial visual evoked potentials recorded during concurrent EEG-fMRI

Camillo Porcaro, Dirk Ostwald, Andrew Bagshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


EEG quality is a crucial issue when acquiring combined EEG-fMRI data, particularly when the focus is on using single trial (ST) variability to integrate the data sets. The most common method for improving EEG data quality following removal of gross MRI artefacts is independent component analysis (ICA), a completely blind source separation technique. In the current study, a different approach is proposed based on the functional source separation (FSS) algorithm. FSS is an extension of ICA that incorporates prior knowledge about the signal of interest into the data decomposition. Since in general the part of the EEG signal that will contain the most relevant information is known beforehand (i.e. evoked potential peaks, spectral bands), FSS separates the signal of interest by exploiting this prior knowledge without renouncing the advantages of using only information contained in the original signal waveforms. A reversing checkerboard stimulus was used to generate visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in healthy control subjects. Gradient and ballistocardiogram artefacts were removed with template subtraction techniques to form the raw data, which were then subjected to ICA denoising and FSS. The resulting EEG data sets were compared using several metrics derived from average and ST data and correlated with fMRI data. In all cases, ICA was an improvement on the raw data, but the most obvious improvement was provided by FSS, which consistently outperformed ICA. The results show the benefit of FSS for the recovery of good quality single trial evoked potentials during concurrent EEG-fMRI recordings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • Functional source separation (FSS)
  • Visual evoked potential (VEP)
  • Independent component analysis (ICA)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)


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