Event Related Potentials in Development, Aging and Dementia

  • Kenneth Squires
  • Douglas Goodin
  • Arnold Starr
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)


An abnormal response to sensory information can result from deficits in sensory transmission, cognitive processing or response production. Recently it has become feasible to comprehensively evaluate sensory transmission using event related potentials (ERPs). With ERP techniques the functioning of the afferent pathways can now be reliably determined, and lesions in the pathways can, in many instances, be precisely localized (see Starr, 1978 for review). Among neurological patients, however, the problem often lies at one of the two remaining stages about which ERP procedures currently in clinical use provide little information. Among these patients, differentiating those with real deficits in cognitive function from those who are unable to interact with the examiner due to motor or language deficits, or who are unwilling to cooperate, is often a difficult and subjective task. Direct recording of brain activity in the form of ERPs is one way to overcome such obstacles of communication and cooperation since it requires no overt response on the part of the patient and only a modicum of cooperation. Also, since certain “endogenous” components of the ERP have been unequivocally associated with cognitive activity in a wide variety of studies (see Donchin et al., in press, and Tueting, in press, for reviews), it is now possible to unobtrusively monitor cognitive activity as well as sensory function. The purpose of the studies described here was to determine the feasibility of utilizing the endogenous components of the ERP as an objective measure of mental function in neurological diseases which produce cognitive deficits.


Event Relate Potential Mental Function Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Demented Patient Endogenous Component 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Squires
    • 1
  • Douglas Goodin
    • 1
  • Arnold Starr
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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