Low-cost, portable electroencephalographic (EEG) headsets have become commercially available in the last 10 years. One such system, Emotivs EPOC, has been modified to allow event-related potential (ERP) research. Because of these innovations, EEG research may become more widely available in non-traditional settings. Although the EPOC has previously been shown to provide data comparable to research-grade equipment and has been used in real-world settings, how EPOC performs without the electrical shielding used in research-grade laboratories is yet to be systematically tested. In the current article we address this gap in the literature by asking participants to perform a simple EEG experiment in shielded and unshielded contexts. The experiment was the observation of human versus wristwatch faces which were either inverted or noninverted. This method elicited the face sensitive N170 ERP. In both shielded and unshielded contexts, the N170 amplitude was larger when participants viewed human faces and peaked later when a human face was inverted. More importantly, Bayesian analysis showed no difference in the N170 measured in the shielded and unshielded contexts. Further, the signal recorded in both contexts was highly correlated. The EPOC appears to reliably record EEG signals without a purpose-built electrically-shielded room or laboratory-grade preamplifier.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience