Reliability of ERP and single-trial analyses

Carl M. Gaspar, Guillaume A. Rousselet, Cyril R. Pernet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A reliable measure is one we can trust in the long run. Thus, the reliability of measurements is as important as their validity. Here we investigated the reliability of brain electrical visual evoked responses to faces and noise textures. For the first time, we provide reliability measures for the full time course of event-related potentials (ERPs). Our analyses were also performed on a R-2(t) metric that reflects results from single-trial analyses,. therefore providing the first reliability analysis of ERP single-trial analyses. Results show that ERPs and R-2(t) are highly reliable (cross-correlation similar to 0.9, lag similar to 4/6 ms, intra-class correlation similar to 0.9) but also idiosyncratic: ERPs and R2(t) are highly reproducible within subjects, who differ reliably from each other and the grand average across subjects. Consequently, grand averages, although highly reliable, can be misleading because they might not reflect the actual brain dynamic of any subjects. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-629
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2011


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