Chapter 02: STUDY Creation

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Arrow.small.left.gif Chapter 01: Overview
Tutorial Outline
Chapter 03: Working with STUDY designs Arrow.small.right.gif

This part of the tutorial will demonstrate how to create an EEGLAB STUDY. For these datasets, the measures needed for data visualization, clustering and cluster visualization have already been computed, as described below in the following section, and are stored with the datasets - download the full studyset here (~450Mb).

Description of experiment for tutorial data: These data were acquired by Peter Ullsberger and colleagues from five subjects performing an auditory task in which they were asked to distinguish between synonymous and non-synonymous word pairs (the second word presented 1 second after the first). Data epochs were extracted from 2 sec before the second word onset to 2 sec after the second word onset. After decomposing each subject's data by ICA, two EEG datasets were extracted, one (Synonyms) comprising trials in which the second word was synonymous with the first one, and one (Non-synonyms) in which the second word was not a synonym of the first. Thus the study includes 10 datasets, two condition datasets for each of five subjects. Since both datasets of each subject were recorded in a single session, the decompositions and resulting independent component maps are the same across both conditions for each subject.

After downloading the sample STUDY data, unzip it in a folder of your choice (preferably in the 'sample_data' sub-folder of the EEGLAB release you are currently using; under Linux use the 'unzip' command). This will create a sub-folder '5subjects' containing several studysets. Then open a Matlab session and run >> eeglab.


Data organization

The tutorial data is already optimally organized. However, when creating a new STUDY, it is preferable to organize your data before running the STUDY functions. We suggest creating one directory or folder per subject, then storing the EEG dataset (".set") files for that subject in this folder. The STUDY functions will then automatically add measure files to the same subject directories.

We also advise modifying the default EEGLAB memory options. Selecting menu item File > Memory and other options will pop-up the following window:

Pop editoptions.jpg

Set the first option so that no more than one dataset is stored in memory at a time. Dataset data arrays are then read from disk whenever EEGLAB requires access to the data, but without cluttering memory. This will allow Matlab to load and hold a large number of dataset structures forming a large STUDY. Also, unset the third option so ICA component activations do not get recomputed automatically. This saves time as datasets are re-saved automatically during computation of measures and clustering of ICA components.

Creating a new STUDY structure and studyset

Exploratory Step: Creating a Studyset

To create a studyset, select menu item File > Create study > Browse for datasets. (Else, you may load into EEGLAB all the datasets you want to include in the study and select menu item File > Create study > Using all loaded datasets). A blank interface similar to the one described above will appear. In this window, first enter a name for the studyset ('N400STUDY'), a short description of the study ('Auditory task: Synonyms Vs. Non-synonyms, N400'). Here, we do not add notes about the study, but we recommend that you do so for your own studies. The accumulated notes will always be loaded with the study, easing later analysis and re-analysis. Click on the Browse button in the first blank location and select a dataset name. The interface window should then look like the following:
Pop study empty.gif
Warning: Under Matlab 7.x and Linux, do not copy and paste information into the edit boxes. Though it appears that this works, Matlab 7 does not correctly register such inputs. Enter all information manually (except the 'browsed' dataset names). This problem does not seem to arise under Windows. -> The fields Subject and Condition (below) have been filled automatically. This is because the datasets already contained this information. For instance, if you were to load this dataset into EEGLAB by selecting menu item Edit > Dataset info, you would be able to edit the Subject and Condition information for this dataset (as shown below). You may also edit it within the study itself, since dataset information and study dataset information may be different to ensure maximum flexibility. For instance, if you want one dataset to belong to several studies, but play different roles in each.

Note: Use the checkbox Update dataset information... to maintain consistency between dataset and studyset fields. However, if you check this option, datasets may be modified on disk by clustering functions.
Pop editset.gif
Enter all datasets for all subjects in the STUDY, so that the STUDY creation gui looks like this:
Pop study.gif
After you have finished adding datasets to the study, press OK in the pop_study.m gui to import all the dataset information. We strongly recommend that you also save the STUDY as a studyset by filling in the bottom edit box in the gui, or by selecting the EEGLAB menu item File > Save study as after closing the pop_study.m window.

Important note: Continuous data collected in one task or experiment session are often separated into epochs defining different task conditions (for example, separate sets of epochs time locked to targets and non-targets respectively). Datasets from different conditions collected in the same session are assumed by the clustering functions to have the same ICA component weights (i.e., the same ICA decomposition is assumed to have been applied to the data from all session conditions at once). If this was not the case, then datasets from the different conditions must be assigned to different sessions.

Loading an existing studyset

KEY STEP 1: Loading Studysets

Either use the studyset created in the previous section or load another studyset. To load a studyset, select menu item File > Load existing study. Select the file in the folder 5subjects. After loading or creating a study, the main EEGLAB interface should look like this:

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An EEGLAB STUDY (or study) contains descriptions of and links to data contained in one to many epoched datasets, for example a set of datasets from a group of subjects in one or more conditions of the same task, or performing different tasks in the same or different sessions. Other designs are possible, for instance a number of different task conditions from the same subject collected during one or more sessions. The term STUDY indicates that these datasets should originate from a single experimental STUDY and have comparable structure and significance. When in use, studyset datasets are partially or totally loaded into EEGLAB. They thus may also be accessed and modified individually, when desired, through the main EEGLAB graphic interface or using EEGLAB command line functions or custom dataset processing scripts.

In the EEGLAB gui (above), Epoch consistency indicates whether or not the data epochs in all the datasets have the same lengths and limits. Channels per frame indicates the number of channels in each of the datasets (It is possible to process datasets with different numbers of channels). Channel location indicates whether or not channel locations are present for all datasets. Note that channel locations may be edited for all datasets at the same time (simply call menu item Edit > Channel locations). The Clusters entry indicates the number of component clusters associated with this STUDY. There is always at least one cluster associated with a STUDY. This contains all the pre-selected ICA components from all datasets. The Status entry indicates the current status of the STUDY. In the case above, this line indicates that the STUDY is ready for pre-clustering. Below, we detail what the STUDY terms "subjects", "conditions", "sessions", and "groups" mean.

To list the datasets in the STUDY, use menu item Study > Edit study info. The following window will pop up:

Pop study.gif

The top of the window contains information about the STUDY, namely its running name, the extended task name for the STUDY, and some notes. The next section contains information about the 10 datasets that are part of the STUDY. For each dataset, we have specified a subject code and condition name. We chose to leave the session and group labels empty, as they were irrelevant for this STUDY. (For this STUDY, there was only one subject group and data for both experimental conditions were collected in a single session, so the same ICA decomposition was used for both conditions). Uniform default values will be used by EEGLAB for those fields. The Components column contains the components for each dataset that will be clustered. Note that if you change the component selection (by pressing the relevant push button), all datasets with the same subject name and the same session number will also be updated (as these datasets are assumed to have the same ICA components).

Each of the datasets EEG structures may also contain subject, group, session, and condition fields. They do not necessarily have to be the same as those present in the STUDY. For example, the same dataset may represent one condition in one STUDY and a different condition in another STUDY.

  • In general, we prefer the dataset information to be consistent with the studyset information -- thus we check the first checkbox above.
  • The second checkbox removes all current cluster information. When cluster information is present, it is not possible to add or remove datasets and to edit certain fields (because this would not be consistent with the already computed clusters). Re-clustering the altered STUDY does not take much time, once the pre-clustering information for the new datasets (if any) has been computed and stored.
  • The third checkbox allows the STUDY to be saved (or re-saved) as a studyset (for example, MyName.std).

Both raw data and ICA component data may be processed in STUDY. Below we focus on processing component data. If you with to skip this part and only process raw data, jump to section on STUDY data visualization tools.

KEY STEP 2: Pre-selecting components for clustering.

Simply press the Select by r.v. (r.v. = residual variance) push button in the gui above. The entry box below will appear. This allows you to set a threshold for residual variance of the dipole model associated with each component.
Note: Using this option requires that dipole model information is present in each dataset. Use EEGLAB plug-in dipfit.m options and save the resulting dipole models into each dataset before calling the study guis. Otherwise, options related to dipole localization will not be available.
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This interface allows specifying that components used in clustering will only be those whose equivalent dipole models have residual dipole variance of their component map, compared to the best-fitting equivalent dipole model projection to the scalp electrodes, less than a specified threshold (0% to 100%). The default r.v. value is 15%, meaning that only components with dipole model residual variance of less than 15% will be included in clusters. This is useful because of the modeled association between components with near 'dipolar' (or sometimes dual-dipolar) scalp maps with physiologically plausible components, those that may represent the activation in one (or two coupled) brain area(s). For instance, in the interface above, the default residual variance threshold is set to 15%. This means that only component that have an equivalent dipole model with less than 15% residual variance will be selected for clustering. Pressing OK will cause the component column to be updated in the main study-editing window. Then press OK to save your changes.

Editing STUDY datasets

Selecting an individual dataset from the Datasets menu allows editing individual datasets in a STUDY. Note, however, that creating new datasets or removing datasets will also remove the STUDY from memory since the study must remain consistent with datasets loaded in memory (here, however, EEGLAB will prompt you to save the study before it is deleted).

EEGLAB (v5.0b) also allows limited parallel processing of datasets of a STUDY in addition to computing clustering measures during pre-clustering. You may, for instance, filter all datasets of a STUDY. To do so, simply select menu item Tools > Filter data. You may also perform ICA decomposition of all datasets by running ICA individually on each of the datasets.

You may also select specific datasets using the Datasets > Select multiple datasets menu item and run ICA on all the datasets concatenated together (the ICA graphic interface contains a self-explanatory checkbox to perform that operation). This is useful, for example, when you have two datasets for two conditions from a subject that were collected in the same session, and want to perform ICA decomposition on their combined data. Using this option, you do not have to concatenate the datasets yourself; EEGLAB will do it for you.

Arrow.small.left.gif Chapter 01: Overview
Tutorial Outline
Chapter 03: Working with STUDY designs Arrow.small.right.gif