Electronic problems of electroencephalographic (EEG) system may occur in even the best-managed laboratories. Timing error may happen in the coupling of computers from various manufactures, resulting in the misalignment of event markers that signal the onset of stimuli. In one system, an impedance check desynchronized a computer and thus caused misalignment of events in EEG signals. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop a method to identify and correct such timing errors that contaminated 114 raw data of EEG/auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded in one of our longitudinal studies. A two-step procedure was introduced in the correction of timing errors. First, the time delay was roughly estimated by identifying a P 150 component in two ERP blocks. Second, a small phase-locked positive wave was identified for fine estimation. Reliability within and among evaluators was examined using ERP data with simulated timing errors. Concordant results were obtained in 104 (91.2%) of the 114 raw EEG/ERP data sets. Our results showed that the method presented here is reliable and can be used for correcting timing errors without introduction of experimenter bias. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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