Guidelines and Best Practices for Electrophysiological Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting in Autism

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Abstract

The EEG reflects the activation of large populations of neurons that act in synchrony and propagate to the scalp surface. This activity reflects both the brain’s background electrical activity and when the brain is being challenged by a task. Despite strong theoretical and methodological arguments for the use of EEG in understanding the neural correlates of autism, the practice of collecting, processing and evaluating EEG data is complex. Scientists should take into consideration both the nature of development in autism given the life-long, pervasive course of the disorder and the disability of altered or atypical social, communicative, and motor behaviors, all of which require accommodations to traditional EEG environments and paradigms. This paper presents guidelines for the recording, analyzing, and interpreting of EEG data with participants with autism. The goal is to articulate a set of scientific standards as well as methodological considerations that will increase the general field’s understanding of EEG methods, provide support for collaborative projects, and contribute to the evaluation of results and conclusions.