The characterization of the functional network of the brain dynamics has become a prominent tool to illuminate novel aspects of brain functioning. Due to its excellent time resolution, such research is oftentimes based on electroencephalographic recordings (EEG). However, a particular EEG-reference might cause crucial distortions of the spatiotemporal interrelation pattern and may induce spurious correlations as well as diminish genuine interrelations originally present in the dataset. Here we investigate in which manner correlation patterns are affected by a chosen EEG reference. To this end we evaluate the influence of 7 popular reference schemes on artificial recordings derived from well controlled numerical test frameworks. In this respect we are not only interested in the deformation of spatial interrelations, but we test additionally in which way the time evolution of the functional network, estimated via some bi-variate interrelation measures, gets distorted. It turns out that the median reference as well as the global average show the best performance in most situations considered in the present study. However, if a collective brain dynamics is present, where most of the signals get correlated, these schemes may also cause crucial deformations of the functional network, such that the parallel use of different reference schemes seems advisable.
Artículo completo – Complete paper: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2019.00941/full