, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 227-232,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Jul 2010

Sensitivity of MEG and EEG to Source Orientation


An important difference between magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) is that MEG is insensitive to radially oriented sources. We quantified computationally the dependency of MEG and EEG on the source orientation using a forward model with realistic tissue boundaries. Similar to the simpler case of a spherical head model, in which MEG cannot see radial sources at all, for most cortical locations there was a source orientation to which MEG was insensitive. The median value for the ratio of the signal magnitude for the source orientation of the lowest and the highest sensitivity was 0.06 for MEG and 0.63 for EEG. The difference in the sensitivity to the source orientation is expected to contribute to systematic differences in the signal-to-noise ratio between MEG and EEG.