McMenamin, B. W.*, Shackman, A. J.*, Greischar, L. L. & Davidson, R. J. (2011). Electromyogenic artifacts and electroencephalographic inferences revisited, Neuroimage, 54, 4-9. * joint first authorship PDFicon-25x39
Recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in using oscillatory brain electrical activity to understand the neural bases of cognition and emotion. Electrical signals originating from pericranial muscles represent a profound threat to the validity of such research. Recently, McMenamin et al. (2010) examined whether independent component analysis (ICA) provides a sensitive and specific means of correcting electromyogenic (EMG) artifacts.

This report sparked the accompanying commentary Olbrich et al. (2010), and here we revisit the question of how EMG can alter inferences drawn from the EEG and what can be done to minimize its pernicious effects. Accordingly, we briefly summarize salient features of the EMG problem and review recent research investigating the utility of ICA for correcting EMG and other artifacts. We then directly address the key concerns articulated by Olbrich and provide a critique of their efforts at validating ICA.

We conclude by identifying key areas for future methodological work and offer some practical recommendations for intelligently addressing EMG artifact.