Isolating early cortical generators of visual-evoked activity: A systems identification approach

Jeremy W. Murphy, Simon P. Kelly, John J. Foxe, Edmund C. Lalor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The VESPA (visual-evoked spread spectrum analysis) method estimates the impulse response of the visual system using a continuously varying stimulus. It has been used recently to address both basic cognitive and neurophysiologic questions as well as those surrounding clinical populations. Although the components of the average VESPA response are highly reminiscent of the early components of the visual-evoked potential (VEP) when measured over midline occipital locations, the two responses are acquired in different ways and, thus, they cannot be regarded as being equivalent. To further characterize the relationship between the VESPA and the VEP and the generative mechanisms underlying them, we recorded EEG from 31 subjects in response to checkerboard-based VEP and VESPA stimuli. We found that, across subjects, the amplitudes of the VEP C1 component and the VESPA C1 component were highly correlated, whereas the VEP P1 and the VESPA P1 bore no statistical relationship. Furthermore, we found that C1 and P1 amplitudes were significantly correlated in the VESPA but not in the VEP. We believe these findings point to the presence of common generators underlying the VESPA C1 and the VEP C1. We argue further that the VESPA P1, in light of its strong relationship to the VESPA C1, likely reflects further activation of the same cortical generators. Given the lack of correlation between the VEP P1 and each of these three other components, it is likely that the underlying generators of this particular component are more varied and widespread, as suggested previously. We discuss the implications of these relationships for basic and clinical research using the VESPA and for the assessment of additive-evoked versus phase-reset contributions to the VEP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • C1
  • EEG
  • Visual-evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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