Estimating the spatial Nyquist of the human EEG

Ramesh Srinivasan, Don M. Tucker*, Michael Andrew Murias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


The discrete sampling of the brain's electrical field at the scalp surface with individual recording sensors is subject to the same sampling error as the discrete sampling of the time series at any one sensor with analog-to-digital conversion. Unlike temporal sampling, spatial sampling is intrinsically discrete, so that the post hoc application of analog anti-aliasing filters is not possible. However, the skull acts as a low-pass spatial filter of the brain's electrical field, attenuating the high spatial frequency information. Because of the skull's spatial filtering, a discrete sampling of the spatial field with a reasonable number of scalp electrodes is possible. In this paper, we provide theoretical and experimental evidence that adequately sampling the human electroencephalograph (EEG) across the full surface of the head requires a minimum of 128 sensors. Further studies with each of the major EEG and event-related potential phenomena are required in order to determine the spatial frequency of these phenomena and in order to determine whether additional increases in sensor density beyond 128 channels will improve the spatial resolution of the scalp EEG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-19
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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