Functional Significance of Individual Differences in P3 Network Spatial Configuration

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The amplitude and latency of the P3 component in the electroencephalogram (EEG) event-related potentials (ERPs) are among the most extensively used markers for individual differences in normal and abnormal brain functions. In contrast, individual variations in spatial topography of the temporally-defined P3 component are relatively under-explored. Development in EEG-based source imaging opened up the possibility that individual-specific spatial configuration of the neural network underlying the temporally-defined P3 component bear a novel source of information for marking an individual difference in behavioral and cognitive function. In testing this hypothesis, a hybrid method consisting of blind source separation (BSS), equivalent current dipole (ECD) modeling, and hits-vector-based analysis was applied to continuous un-epoched EEG data collected from 13 healthy human participants performing a visual color oddball task. By analyzing the spatial configuration of the network underlying the temporally-defined P3 component, hereafter referred to as the P3N, we discovered that the contribution of each constituent structure within the P3N is not uniform. Instead, frontal lobe structures have significantly more involvement than other constituent structures, as quantitatively characterized by cross-individual reliability and a within-individual contribution to the P3N. A factor analysis of the hits vector data revealed that although P3 latency and amplitude did not show significant correlations with measures of the behavioral outcomes, scores of two factors derived from the hits vectors selectively predict behavioral reaction time and response correctness. These results support the hypothesis that variations in P3 spatial configuration reflect not merely noise but individual-specific features with functional significance.

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Journal of Psychophysiology

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