As a participant of an EEG study, here’s what I learnt:
1. The preparation is quite time-consuming and has to be, so everything is done succinctly.
2. The cap is very fitted, it has to be snug so that the conductive gel and electrodes can properly measure event related potentials (ERPs).
3. You have to sit really still, as the recording is super sensitive. This makes it unsuitable for people who are ill at the time of study, needing to cough/blow their nose.
4. To get an accurate measure, you have to sit through A LOT of trials.
This can be tiring for participants and it showed me the importance of giving breaks where necessary.
Breaks will allow participants to relax more from sitting still and give them a chance to regain focus/reduce tired effects. In turn, this helps produce higher quality readings.
Through shadowing an EEG study, here’s what I learnt:
1. You have to measure the participants head to decide which cap will fit them best.
2. Wipe down the areas where the electrodes will be taped onto the face with alcohol-free wipes.
3. The electrodes on your face can be secured with tape. The one under the left eye, must be taped upside down, as the eye is a sensitive area and we want to minimise discomfort for participants.
4. Fill the holes with gel. You can always add more gel but you can’t really remove it. So it’s better to be slightly under than to overfill.
5. When you attach the electrodes to the corresponding areas on the cap, to minimise participant discomfort, hold their head slightly as you apply slight pressure.
6. Once the cords are plugged into the battery and it’s turned on – tie up the long wires and tape them so that you can reduce any noise from slight movements (if these were to get tugged ever so slightly).
7. Monitoring the electrical activity is the most important part as a researcher as it will help you to identify any problems which may be solved by either checking the electrodes connection. Minimising noise through taping wires moving. Ensuring participants feet are flat and that they are not in contact with metal.
8. Afterwards, when it comes to cleaning, the equipment is so delicate that you have to ensure that only the side which came in contact with the gel, can be washed with soap and water. The other sides must NOT come into contact with water at all. The cap is cleaned easily with soap and water and a drain cleaner device can be used to loosen up remaining gel from the holes.