Using Multivariate Pattern Analysis to Increase Effect Sizes for Event-Related Potential Analyses

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Using Multivariate Pattern Analysis to Increase Effect Sizes for Event-Related Potential Analyses

Authors

Carrasco, C. D.; Bahle, B.; Simmons, A. M.; Luck, S. J.

Abstract

Multivariate pattern analysis approaches can be applied to the topographic distribution of event-related potential (ERP) signals to \'decode\' subtly different stimulus classes, such as different faces and different orientations. These approaches are extremely sensitive, and it seems possible that they could also be used to increase effect sizes and statistical power in traditional paradigms that ask whether an ERP component differs in amplitude across conditions. To assess this possibility, we leveraged the open-source ERP CORE dataset and compared the effect sizes resulting from conventional univariate analyses of mean amplitude with two multivariate pattern analysis approaches (support vector machine decoding and the cross-validated Mahalanobis distance, both of which are easy to compute using open-source software). We assessed these approaches across seven widely studied ERP components (N170, N400, N2pc, P3b, lateral readiness potential, error related negativity, and mismatch negativity). Across all components, we found that multivariate approaches yielded effect sizes that were as large or larger than the effect sizes produced by univariate approaches. These results indicate that researchers could obtain larger effect sizes, and therefore greater statistical power, by using multivariate analysis of topographic voltage patterns instead of traditional univariate analyses in many ERP studies.

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