Information for New Participants

Principal Investigators

The ERP lab is a purpose built lab located in the Applied Science building. EEG (electroencephalogram) is a neuroimaging technique which involves measuring the electrical activity of the brain. The electrical activity is produced by groups of neurons firing synchronously and creating electrical potentials. These potentials can be measured by electrodes on the scalp. In experiments we are measuring changes in neural firing patterns over time and location so that we can learn more about cognitive processes such as sensory perception, selective attention and object recognition. We employ a 64- / 32-channel EEG active electrode setup (ActiCap).

Experimental Procedure

In order to record the electrical signals generated by brain activity, participants must wear an electrode eyeblinks.jpgcap, as modelled by the person above. In addition, electrodes are applied to the face to record eye movements as these signals interfere with the analysis of brain activity (see example of eye blinks in the eeg trace below. The facial electrodes and the electrodes in the cap must be filled with a conductive gel (a saline solution that easily washes off skin and out of hair) in order to obtain good electrical signals. An experiment consists of a participant repeatedly performing a specific cognitive task while one of the lab's computers records the electrical signals from the electrodes. During the experiment, the signals from the electrodes are relayed through the amplifiers to the computer via the wires and connectors that are visible in the back of the head of the participant on the photo.

EEG Lab Volunteer

Are you interested in participating in an EEG study? The following description will give you an idea of a typical EEG study in our lab. Please, read this information before participating in a study.

What will you be doing?

Basically you will be sitting in front of a computer screen doing a simple task whilst we record the electrical activity of your brain via the electrodes in the cap. See youtube link for demonstration. Click here for video.

How long will it take?

On average an experiment takes about 2 hours. About half an hour is needed to put the cap on and ensure that a good measurement is possible. Also, you will want to wash your hair afterwards, to remove conductive gel from your hair. We have a hand-held shower, clean towels, shampoo and a hairdryer for you to use.


We have two methods for compensating participants. Students taking Psychology generally receive course credits. Participants from outside the Psychology department may receive 6 per hour in cash. We do not pay for travelling expenses.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for healthy people between the age of 18 and 40 with a BMI less than 25. It is important to be fit and well-rested when you take part in an EEG experiment. Also, it helps if you do not use any hair-care products like conditioner, oils or wax in your hair. Finally, if you are wearing contact lenses but also have a pair of spectacles you could wear, it is advisable to bring your spectacles, because some participants complain of dry eyes when they are doing our experiments. If you are not sure whether you are suitable, please check out our participant screening form.


If you are interested in taking part or have any further queries, please e-mail Dr Mary-Ellen Large. Email me or sign up to our Research Participation Scheme.