The Behavioral Research and Imaging Neurodevelopment lab is committed to interdisciplinary neuroscience research involving both undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in exploring the relationship between brain function and human behavior. One of the tools to explore brain function is electroencephalography (EEG).

Electroencephalography is a technique employed to record the spontaneous electrical activity of the brain. These biosignals, which EEG detects, have been demonstrated to represent the postsynaptic potentials of pyramidal neurons in the brain. EEG is non-invasive, involving the placement of electrodes along the scalp, often referred to as "scalp EEG."

About the Brain Lab

The EEG measures voltage fluctuations, enabling the assessment of regular brain activity. EEG signals primarily mirror the activity of cortical neurons located in close proximity to the scalp electrodes. In this lab, we are interested in using EEG to provide insight into the electrophysiological correlates of:

  • attention networks in early development
  • age-related differences in motor control and learning
  • sensorimotor networks and their impact on movement across the lifespan
  • working memory-language processes across adulthood
  • self-regulation development
  • sleep and its relationship with attention, regulatory functioning, and communication

EEG is an invaluable resource for both research exploring brain behavior relationships and in clinical decision making. It stands out as one of the few mobile techniques available, offering temporal resolution in the millisecond range.

A team of faculty secured a National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant in 2021 and purchased a 128-channel (high-density) electroencephalography (EEG) system. The high-density EEG system is the first neuroimaging tool on EMU campus that allows us to measure human neurophysiology. It is for shared use across three departments/programs: Neuroscience Program (NSCI), Psychology Department (PSY), Communication Sciences and Disorders Program (CSD), and two colleges (College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education).

The EEG equipment is housed in Mark Jefferson Science Complex Room 528 B.R.A.I.N (Behavior Research And Imaging Neurodevelopment) lab. It is now used by at least three research groups within the Departments of Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Neuroscience Program at EMU. 

Current Projects

  • Understanding resting-state brain networks with electroencephalography (Adult-EEG pilot study) Expand dropdown
    Resting-state brain networks refer to correlated brain signals between functionally associated brain regions in the absence of any stimulus or task (Biswal, 2015). The purpose for this study is to evaluate the resting-state brain networks and their relationships with a range of behavioral functions in young adults.
  • Using EEG to understand phonological processes in young and older adults Expand dropdown
    An ERP project is underway that examines phonological awareness abilities, or an awareness of word sound properties, in older adults using a word rhyme decision paradigm. Since ERP data are valued for their temporal precision, the findings will provide further insight into how quickly phonological awareness abilities unfold over time. An awareness of phonological properties in words is closely linked to new word learning skills. An understanding of older adults’ phonological awareness skills provides the necessary next step toward effective treatment of, and education about, new word learning skills in a population that is expected to increase dramatically from 2018 to 2060 (US Census Bureau).
  • How the resting-state EEG impacts the association between early indicators of regulation and executive function Expand dropdown

    Research demonstrates that executive functioning (EF) abilities impact multiple areas of functioning, including internalizing and externalizing difficulties as well as school readiness and academic achievement. Preschool is a time of rapid EF development, making it an ideal time to identify children with EF weaknesses and provide targeted interventions. The current study explores the association between resting state EEG power in frontal and parietal brain regions and EF abilities in preschoolers. We also aim to examine whether the known association between early indicators of regulation and later EF is mediated by resting state EEG power.

    Understanding the mechanism by which early predictors lead to EF weaknesses is crucial to develop more targeted screening and intervention efforts. By characterizing resting state EEG power in typically developing children, exploring the associations between EEG power and directly measured EF abilities, and examining the role of EEG power in the association between early regulation and later EF abilities, this study hopes to aid researchers and clinicians in differentiating normal from atypical EF development and more effectively targeting treatment.

  • Lateralization of motor behavior as a measure of cognitive functioning and resting-state electrocortical activity Expand dropdown
    Brain lateralization is an important measure for clinical outcomes. The present study will evaluate the relationship between motor behavioral lateralization (i.e., finger-tapping performance), hemispheric lateralization (i.e., EEG resting-state alpha activity), and relevant psychological outcomes. In addition, it will explore the impact of handedness on these relationships.
  • Association between motor abilities and social supports on internalizing symptoms in infants and preschool children Expand dropdown
    Up to six percent of preschool children are affected by anxiety, though research on internalizing disorders in children this young is relatively limited. Further, little attention has been given to the potential role of motor skill development on internalizing symptoms despite its lasting impacts on  physical, social, and cognitive outcomes. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the relationship between motor competence, internalizing symptoms, and parental and peer relationships in infancy and preschool children.