A nonparametric Bayesian model for estimating spectral densities of resting-state EEG twin data

Brian Hart, Michele Guindani, Stephen Malone, Mark Fiecas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Electroencephalography (EEG) is a noninvasive neuroimaging modality that captures electrical brain activity many times per second. We seek to estimate power spectra from EEG data that ware gathered for 557 adolescent twin pairs through the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS). Typically, spectral analysis methods treat time series from each subject separately, and independent spectral densities are fit to each time series. Since the EEG data were collected on twins, it is reasonable to assume that the time series have similar underlying characteristics, so borrowing information across subjects can significantly improve estimation. We propose a Nested Bernstein Dirichlet prior model to estimate the power spectrum of the EEG signal for each subject by smoothing periodograms within and across subjects while requiring minimal user input to tuning parameters. Furthermore, we leverage the MTFS twin study design to estimate the heritability of EEG power spectra with the hopes of establishing new endophenotypes. Through simulation studies designed to mimic the MTFS, we show our method out-performs a set of other popular methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 15 2020
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Computational resources for this work were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute at the University of Minnesota. This work was funded in part by the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute. Work on this paper by Stephen Malone and Mark Fiecas was supported by NIH grant R21AA026919‐01A. Work on this paper by Michele Guindani was supported by NSF SES‐1659921 grant: Collaborative Research: Bayesian Approaches for Inference on Brain Connectivity.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The International Biometric Society


  • Bernstein polynomial
  • Whittle likelihood
  • heritability
  • nested Dirichlet process
  • time series

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Twin Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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