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Localization of sources of human evoked responses


Kavanagh, Robert Nicholas (1972) Localization of sources of human evoked responses. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/J35H-XN59.


The evoked response, a signal present in the electro-encephalogram when specific sense modalities are stimulated with brief sensory inputs, has not yet revealed as much about brain function as it apparently promised when first recorded in the late 1940's. One of the problems has been to record the responses at a large number of points on the surface of the head; thus in order to achieve greater spatial resolution than previously attained, a 50-channel recording system was designed to monitor experiments with human visually evoked responses.

Conventional voltage versus time plots of the responses were found inadequate as a means of making qualitative studies of such a large data space. This problem was solved by creating a graphical display of the responses in the form of equipotential maps of the activity at successive instants during the complete response. In order to ascertain the necessary complexity of any models of the responses, factor analytic procedures were used to show that models characterized by only five or six independent parameters could adequately represent the variability in all recording channels.

One type of equivalent source for the responses which meets these specifications is the electrostatic dipole. Two different dipole models were studied: the dipole in a homogeneous sphere and the dipole in a sphere comprised of two spherical shells (of different conductivities) concentric with and enclosing a homogeneous sphere of a third conductivity. These models were used to determine nonlinear least squares fits of dipole parameters to a given potential distribution on the surface of a spherical approximation to the head. Numerous tests of the procedures were conducted with problems having known solutions. After these theoretical studies demonstrated the applicability of the technique, the models were used to determine inverse solutions for the evoked response potentials at various times throughout the responses. It was found that reliable estimates of the location and strength of cortical activity were obtained, and that the two models differed only slightly in their inverse solutions. These techniques enabled information flow in the brain, as indicated by locations and strengths of active sites, to be followed throughout the evoked response.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Computer Science
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Fender, Derek H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:6 July 1971
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHGM 01335
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03212016-135649927
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9631
Deposited On:22 Mar 2016 15:23
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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