An Information-Theoretic Framework to Map the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of the Scalp Electroencephalogram

Luca Faes, Daniele Marinazzo, Luca Faes, Giandomenico Nollo, Alberto Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first application of the emerging framework of information dynamics to the characterization of the electroencephalography (EEG) activity. The framework provides entropy-based measures of information storage (self entropy, SE) and information transfer (joint transfer entropy (TE) and partial TE), which are applied here to detect complex dynamics of individual EEG sensors and causal interactions between different sensors. The measures are implemented according to a model-free and fully multivariate formulation of the framework, allowing the detection of nonlinear dynamics and direct links. Moreover, to deal with the issue of volume conduction, a compensation for instantaneous effects is introduced in the computation of joint and partial TE. The framework is applied to resting state EEG measured from healthy subjects in the eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) conditions, evidencing condition-dependent patterns indicative of how information is distributed in the EEG sensor space. The SE was uniformly low during EO and significantly higher in the posterior areas during EC. The joint and partial TE were saturated by instantaneous effects, documenting how volume conduction blurs the detection of information flow in the EEG. However, the use of compensated TE measures led us to evidence meaningful patterns like the presence of local sinks of information flow and propagation motifs, and the emergence of prevalent front-to-back EEG propagation during EC. These findings support the feasibility of our information-theoretic approach to assess the spatiotemporal dynamics of the scalp EEG in different conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2488-2496
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering

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