EEG Electric Field Topography is Stable During Moments of High Field Strength

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Spontaneous broadband electroencephalography (EEG) demonstrates short moments of stability in the spatial distribution of the head-surface voltage topography. This phenomenon underlies the premise behind segmenting multichannel EEG into topographically defined brain states, known as EEG microstates. Microstate segmentation methods commonly identify representative topographical configurations based on clustering applied to a subset of voltage maps selected at the time series points of greatest strength in the neuroelectric field. These moments are well-reasoned to best represent periods of momentary stability in the voltage topography, and consequently, points of greatest signal relative to noise. Yet, more direct empirical evidence for these assumptions is warranted, and the consistency of this phenomenon across individuals has not been characterized. In the present investigation, the association between electric field strength and topographic dissimilarity of temporally adjacent samples of EEG were characterized in a large sample of healthy adults engaged in quiet rest. Samples of individuals’ EEG time series high in electric field strength were found to be topographically similar relative to adjacent time series samples. The strong phase-synchronized actvity of neuronal populations therefore coincides with momentary stability in the topographic voltage configuration, providing robust empirical support for the basic premise underlying segmentation of broadband EEG into microstates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-460
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • EEG
  • Global field power
  • Microstates
  • Topographic dissimilarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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