A two for one special: EEG hyperscanning using a single-person EEG recording setup (pre-print)
Newman, Aaron J.
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EEG hyperscanning refers to recording electroencephalographic (EEG) data from multiple participants simultaneously. Many hyperscanning experimental designs seek to mimic naturalistic behavior, relying on unpredictable participant-generated stimuli. The majority of this research has focused on neural oscillatory activity that is quantified over hundreds of milliseconds or more. This contrasts with traditional event-related potential (ERP) research in which analysis focuses on transient responses, often only tens of milliseconds in duration. Deriving ERPs requires precise time-locking between stimuli and EEG recordings, and thus typically relies on pre-set stimuli that are presented to participants by a system that controls stimulus timing and synchronization with an EEG system. EEG hyperscanning methods typically use separate EEG amplifiers for each participant, increasing cost and complexity — including challenges in synchronizing data between systems. Here, we describe a method that allows for simultaneous acquisition of EEG data from a pair of participants engaged in conversation, using a single EEG system with simultaneous audio data collection that is synchronized with the EEG recording. This allows for the post-hoc insertion of trigger codes so that it is possible to analyze ERPs time-locked to specific events. We further demonstrate methods for deriving ERPs elicited by another person’s spontaneous speech, using this setup.