Event-related Potentials (ERP)

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Getting Started

Published Guidelines and Seminal Papers

Where to begin can be a cumbersome task when dealing with ERPs. There is great diversity in equipment that can be used, technical details in the recording of the data, processing of the data, among others. Several resources have attempted to simplify this task by summarizing the guidelines and standards in the use of ERPs. Below, a list can be found with links and information about these resources.

Guidelines for using human event-related potentials to study cognition: Recording standards and publication criteria T.W. Picton, S. Bentin, P. Berg, E. Donchin, S.A. Hillyard, R. Johnson, Jr., G.A. Miller, W. Ritter, D.S. Ruchkin, M.D. Rugg, and M.J. Taylor Psychophysiology, 37 (2000), 127-152.

This article is the most current guidelines paper for conducting ERP research. It is a product of the committee assembled to form both recording standards and publication criteria for ERP research.When in doubt, this is the article which you should refer to.

Event-related brain potentials: Methods, theory, and applications. Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., & Federmeier, K. D. (2007). In J. Cacciopo, L. Tassinary & G. Berntson (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (3rd ed., pp. 85-119). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

This chapter from the Handbook of psychophysiology provides an overview of how an ERP is derived, important factors to consider in data collection and analyzing of ERPs, as well as methodological considerations when designing an ERP experiment. The chapter also presents and reviews major ERP components and their relevant findings.

An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique Steven J. Luck (2005). The MIT Press, 388 pp.

In conversation, this book has been referred to as the current "bible" in ERP methods. It is currently one of the most complete assemblages of methods and considerations in ERP methodology. It includes a review of major ERP components, as well as chapter discussing important processing techniques such as filtering, noise-reduction, among others.

Event-related brain potentials in the study of human cognition and neuropsychology Munte, T.F., Urbach, T.P., Duzel, E., & Kutas, M. (2000). In F. Boller, J. Grafman and G. Rizzolatti (Eds), Handbook of Neuropsychology, 2nd Edition, Vol. 1. Ch. 7. Elsevier Science B.V.

This chapter serves as an excellent explanation of how ERPs are collected and what fundamental electrical processes underlie the signals. The chapter then addresses many of the areas in ERP research that are typically investigated and summarizes those findings.

Publication criteria for studies of evoked potentials (EP) in man: Methodology and publication criteria Donchin, E., Callaway, E., Cooper, R., Desmedt, J. E., Goff, W. R., Hillyard, S. A., & Sutton, S. (1977). In J. E. Desmedt (Ed.), Progress in clinical neurophysiology: Vol. 1. Attention, voluntary contraction and event-related cerebral potentials (pp. 1–11). Basel, Switzerland: Karger.

Event-related potentials in clinical research: Guidelines for eliciting, recording, and quantifying mismatch negativity, P300, and N400 Duncan, C.C. et al. (2009). Clinical Neurophysiology, 1883-1908.

This recently-published gem is another guidelines paper that reviews ERP guidelines in light of clinical research. It specifically is focused on mismatch negativity (MMN), the P300, and the N400.

Stimulus novelty, task relevance and the visual evoked potential in man. Courchesne, E., Hillyard, S. A., & Galambos, R. (1975). Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology , 131-143.

Is the P300 a manifestation of context updating? Donchin, E., & Coles, M. G. (1988). Brain and Behavior Sciences , 11 (3), 357-374.

The medial frontal cortex and the rapid processing of monetary gains and losses Gehring, W. J., & Willoughby, A. R. (2002). Science , 2279-2282.

A neural system for error detection and compensation Gehring, W. J., Gross, B., Coles, M. G., Meyer, D. E., & Donchin, E. (1993). Psychological Science , 4, 385-390.

Updating P300:An integrative theory of P3a and P3b Polich, J. (2007). Clinical Neurophysiology , 2128-2148.

Probe P3 and blinks: Two measures of affective startle modulation Schupp, H. T., Cuthbert, B. N., Bradley, M. M., Birbaumer, N., & Lang, P. J. (1997). Psychophysiology , 34 (1), 1-6.

Two varieties of long latency positive waves evoked by unprovoked auditory stimuli in man Squires, N. K., Squires, K. C., & Hillyard, S. A. (1975). Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology , 38, 387-401.

Handy, T. C. (Ed.). (2005). Event-Related Potentials: A Methods Handbook. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Handy, T. C. (Ed.). (2009). Brain Signal Analysis: Advances in Neuroelectric and Neuromagnetic Methods. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Nunez, P. L., & Srinivasan, R. (2006). Electric Fields of the Brain, Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Study Design Considerations

Data Collection









Grass Technologies


Electrode application and participant set-up

Video demonstrating how to apply Electrocap

Video demonstrating how to apply EGI's electrode nets

Signal monitoring and quality control

Electrode cleansing and storage

Signal Processing Tutorials and Example Datasets

Artifact detection

Baseline correction


Identifying ERP components

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