A cortical potential imaging analysis of the P300 and novelty P3 components

Bin He, Jie Lian, Kevin M. Spencer, Joseph Dien, Emanuel Donchin

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84 Scopus citations


The P300 and Novelty P3 are positive components of the event related brain potential (ERP) with a latency of at least 300 ms, which are manifestations of brain activity evoked by deviant events. Spencer et al. [1999, 2001] demonstrated that these are two distinct components, both of which may be elicited, with different amplitudes, by both rare and novel events. However, the locations of the intracranial sources of the components remain unknown. We describe the application of cortical potential imaging (CPI) analysis to the data described by Spencer et al. [1999]. The ERPs were recorded from 15 healthy subjects presented with auditory oddball sequences. Cortical potential maps (CPMs) were reconstructed from the scalp potential maps (SPMs) corresponding to the P300 and Novelty P3 components by deblurring the smoothing effect of the head volume conductor. The reconstructed CPMs, derived from the SPMs by means of the CPI, showed localized areas of activity distributed in both the frontal and parietal lobes; the parietal region was active throughout the period of the late positivities. The reconstructed CPMs associated with novel events showed prominent activity at the frontal lobe (Novelty P3) followed by progressively pronounced parietal lobe activity (P300), and these two components can be well separated by the CPMs. These analyses show how the CPI can be used to relate the scalp electrical recordings to the underlying brain activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical potential imaging
  • ERP
  • Electroencephalography
  • Inverse problem
  • Novelty P3
  • P300


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