Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 86, Issue 6, pp 457–471

Unified neurophysical model of EEG spectra and evoked potentials


  • C. J. Rennie
    • School of Physics, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
  • P. A. Robinson
    • School of Physics, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
  • J. J. Wright
    • Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

DOI: 10.1007/s00422-002-0310-9

Cite this article as:
Rennie, C., Robinson, P. & Wright, J. Biol Cybern (2002) 86: 457. doi:10.1007/s00422-002-0310-9


 Evoked potentials – the brain's transient electrical responses to discrete stimuli – are modeled as impulse responses using a continuum model of brain electrical activity. Previous models of ongoing brain activity are refined by adding an improved model of thalamic connectivity and modulation, and by allowing for two populations of excitatory cortical neurons distinguished by their axonal ranges. Evoked potentials are shown to be modelable as an impulse response that is a sum of component responses. The component occurring about 100 ms poststimulus is attributed to sensory activation, and this, together with positive and negative feedback pathways between the cortex and thalamus, results in subsequent peaks and troughs that semiquantitatively reproduce those of observed evoked potentials. Modulation of the strengths of positive and negative feedback, in ways consistent with psychological theories of attentional focus, results in d istinct responses resembling those seen in experiments involving attentional changes. The modeled impulse responses reproduce key features of typical experimental evoked response potentials: timing, relative amplitude, and number of peaks. The same model, with further modulation of feedback, also reproduces experimental spectra. Together, these results mean that a broad range of ongoing and transient electrocortical activity can be understood within a common framework, which is parameterized by values that are directly related to physiological and anatomical quantities.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002