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Motion-related artefacts in EEG predict neuronally plausible patterns of activation in fMRI data

Jansen, Marije; White, Thomas P.; Mullinger, Karen J.; Liddle, Elizabeth B.; Gowland, Penny A.; Francis, Susan T.; Bowtell, Richard W.; Liddle, Peter F.


Marije Jansen

Thomas P. White

Penny A. Gowland

Susan T. Francis

Peter F. Liddle


The simultaneous acquisition and subsequent analysis of EEG and fMRI data is challenging owing to increased noise levels in the EEG data. A common method to integrate data from these two modalities is to use aspects of the EEG data, such as the amplitudes of event-related potentials (ERP) or oscillatory EEG activity, to predict fluctuations in the fMRI data. However, this relies on the acquisition of high quality datasets to ensure that only the correlates of neuronal activity are being studied. In this study, we investigate the effects of headmotion-
related artefacts in the EEG signal on the predicted T2* weighted signal variation. We apply our analyses to two independent datasets: 1) four participants were asked to move their feet in the scanner to generate small head movements, and 2) four participants performed an episodic memory task. We createdT2*-weighted signal predictors from indicators of abrupt head motion using derivatives of the realignment parameters, from visually detected artefacts in the EEG as well as from three EEG frequency bands (theta,
alpha and beta). In both datasets, we found little correlation between the T2*-weighted signal and EEG
predictors that were not convolved with the canonical haemodynamic response function (cHRF). However, all
convolved EEG predictors strongly correlated with the T2*-weighted signal variation in various regions including the bilateral superior temporal cortex, supplementary motor area, medial parietal cortex and cerebellum. The finding that movement onset spikes in the EEG predict T2*-weighted signal intensity only when the time course of movements is convolved with the cHRF, suggests that the correlated signal might reflect a BOLD response to neural activity associated with head movement. Furthermore, the observation that broad-spectral EEG spikes tend to occur at the same time as abrupt head movements, together with the
finding that abrupt movements and EEG spikes show similar correlations with the T2*-weighted signal, indicates that the EEG spikes are produced by abrupt movement and that continuous regressors of EEG oscillations contain motion-related noise even after stringent correction of the EEG data. If not properly removed, these artefacts complicate the use of EEG data as a predictor of T2*-weighted signal variation.


Jansen, M., White, T. P., Mullinger, K. J., Liddle, E. B., Gowland, P. A., Francis, S. T., …Liddle, P. F. (2012). Motion-related artefacts in EEG predict neuronally plausible patterns of activation in fMRI data. NeuroImage, 59(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 2, 2012
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2014
Journal NeuroImage
Print ISSN 1053-8119
Electronic ISSN 1053-8119
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL


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