Method for exploratory cluster analysis and visualisation of single-trial ERP ensembles

N. J. Williams*, S. J. Nasuto, J. D. Saddy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The validity of ensemble averaging on event-related potential (ERP) data has been questioned, due to its assumption that the ERP is identical across trials. Thus, there is a need for preliminary testing for cluster structure in the data.

New method: We propose a complete pipeline for the cluster analysis of ERP data. To increase the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio of the raw single-trials, we used a denoising method based on Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD). Next, we used a bootstrap-based method to determine the number of clusters, through a measure called the Stability Index (SI). We then used a clustering algorithm based on a Genetic Algorithm (GA) to define initial cluster centroids for subsequent k-means clustering. Finally, we visualised the clustering results through a scheme based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA).

Results: After validating the pipeline on simulated data, we tested it on data from two experiments a P300 speller paradigm on a single subject and a language processing study on 25 subjects. Results revealed evidence for the existence of 6 clusters in one experimental condition from the language processing study. Further, a two-way chi-square test revealed an influence of subject on cluster membership.

Comparison with existing method(s): Our analysis operates on denoised single-trials, the number of clusters are determined in a principled manner and the results are presented through an intuitive visualisation.

Conclusions: Given the cluster structure in some experimental conditions, we suggest application of cluster analysis as a preliminary step before ensemble averaging. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Volume250
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • ERP cluster analysis
  • Empirical Mode Decomposition
  • Stability Index
  • Genetic Algorithms
  • k-means clustering
  • EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS
  • COMPONENT ANALYSIS
  • GENETIC ALGORITHM
  • NEURAL-NETWORK
  • IDENTIFICATION

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