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Stimulus-aware spatial filtering for single-trial neural response and temporal response function estimation in high-density EEG with applications in auditory research

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

A common problem in neural recordings is the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), particularly when using non-invasive techniques like magneto- or electroencephalography (M/EEG). To address this problem, experimental designs often include repeated trials, which are then averaged to improve the SNR or to infer statistics that can be used in the design of a denoising spatial filter. However, collecting enough repeated trials is often impractical and even impossible in some paradigms, while analyses on existing data sets may be hampered when these do not contain such repeated trials. Therefore, we present a data-driven method that takes advantage of the knowledge of the presented stimulus, to achieve a joint noise reduction and dimensionality reduction without the need for repeated trials. The method first estimates the stimulus-driven neural response using the given stimulus, which is then used to find a set of spatial filters that maximize the SNR based on a generalized eigenvalue decomposition. As the method is fully data-driven, the dimensionality reduction enables researchers to perform their analyses without having to rely on their knowledge of brain regions of interest, which increases accuracy and reduces the human factor in the results. In the context of neural tracking of a speech stimulus using EEG, our method resulted in more accurate short-term temporal response function (TRF) estimates, higher correlations between predicted and actual neural responses, and higher attention decoding accuracies compared to existing TRF-based decoding methods. We also provide an extensive discussion on the central role played by the generalized eigenvalue decomposition in various denoising methods in the literature, and address the conceptual similarities and differences with our proposed method.
Volume: 204
Publication year:2020
BOF-publication weight:10
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education