The Neurolinguistics (EEG) Laboratory is one of the Konstanz Linguistics Laboratories (LingLab).
How does EEG (Electro-Encepholo-Graphy) work?
All activities of the brain are accompanied by minute electric currents, as for example, in reading or listening to language, or in looking at pictures. These electric currents can be measured in our EEG laboratory, giving us information about the functioning of the human brain. Of particular interest for us are those activities involved in hearing, reading and understanding language.
The brain's electric signals are sampled via electrodes placed on the scalp, using caps holding up to 64 electrodes.
Changes in the electric potentials that arise in the brain when stimuli are processed lie in the range of a few microvolts (1 microvolt = 0.000 0001 volt; by comparison, an electric torch may use 4.5 volts). By recording such changes with high temporal precision, it is possible to determine how the potentials change in response to various stimuli.
In many of our experiments brain activities are recorded that take place automatically in response to a stimulus. Such responses are seen, for example, when individual speech sounds or syllables are heard.
In these experiments the participants may, for example, watch a movie, listening passively to the sound.
Other kinds of experiment require concentration on a particular auditory or visual stimulus. In these the participants may be asked to recognize a particular word or to decide whether a stimulus really is a word or not. The response is signaled verbally or by pressing a button.
In EEG measurements no current is led from the apparatus to the subject's body; it is only the brain's own electrical activity that is measured. Hence, EEG measurements do not affect the participant in any way and are completely safe.
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