EXAMPLE OF EXPERIMENT DESIGN

Experiment design is the process where the stimuli are defined and it is decided how to present the stimuli to the participants. This can be done using a variety of presentation software. One of most popular presentation software packages is E-Prime. In this section, an experiment design example of an oddball paradigm, a well-known ERP task, is explained step by step using E-Prime software. Each step and structure of program is described here. The complete experiment file of the oddball task can be found in the bookDatachap01.

Objective

Before starting any experiment design in any presentation software, it is necessary that the objective of the experiment is clearly defined. The objective of the experiment in fact fulfills the objective of the study. The researcher should answer such related questions before starting the experiment: who are the target participants? (human, animal, young, old, children, male, female, healthy, patient etc.); which mental process is under study? (working memory, decision making, reasoning, intelligence, information processing, visual response etc.); how and which brain region is the responder? (left frontal in depression, central parietal for alpha peak, left temporal in memory retrieval etc.); and which brain modality is to be used? (EEG, fMRI, fNIR, MEG, etc.). Once the objective of the experiment is known then the rest of the steps are easy to complete.

Example:

Who are the target participants?

Answer: Healthy university graduates with age between 18 and 30

years.

Which mental process is under study?

Answer: Visual P300 component (amplitude and latency).

How and which brain region is the responder?

Answer: In visual stimulus task of ERP, the central parietal site is the

best responder to the P300 component.

Which brain modality is to be used?

Answer: EEG 128-channel device will be used to map the brain activity.

 
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