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Background: We propose a mathematical model for multichannel assessment of the trial-to-trial variability of auditory evoked brain responses in magnetoencephalography (MEG).Methods: Following the work of de Munck et al., our approach is based on the maximum likelihood estimation and involves an approximation of the spatio-temporal covariance of the contaminating background noise by means of the Kronecker product of its spatial and temporal covariance matrices. Extending the work of de Munck et al., where the trial-to-trial variability of the responses was considered identical to all channels, we evaluate it for each individual channel.Results: Simulations with two equivalent current dipoles (ECDs) with different trial-to-trial variability, one seeded in each of the auditory cortices, were used to study the applicability of the proposed methodology on the sensor level and revealed spatial selectivity of the trial-to-trial estimates. In addition, we simulated a scenario with neighboring ECDs, to show limitations of the method. We also present an illustrative example of the application of this methodology to real MEG data taken from an auditory experimental paradigm, where we found hemispheric lateralization of the habituation effect to multiple stimulus presentation.Conclusions: The proposed algorithm is capable of reconstructing lateralization effects of the trial-to-trial variability of evoked responses, i.e. when an ECD of only one hemisphere habituates, whereas the activity of the other hemisphere is not subject to habituation. Hence, it may be a useful tool in paradigms that assume lateralization effects, like, e.g., those involving language processing. © 2014 SieluŻycki and Kordowski; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
SieluZycki, C., & Kordowski, P. (2014). Maximum-likelihood estimation of channel-dependent trial-to-trial variability of auditory evoked brain responses in MEG. BioMedical Engineering Online, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-925X-13-75