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Event Related Potentials

Thinking produces electrical signals. ERPs measure the electrical potential from the brain, showing brain processing. This is used to study medication effects.


The electricity produced naturally by the brain as it functions may be recorded by carefully placing electrodes on the head using a conductive paste. Signals are evoked by sensory or cognitive areas in the brain in response to sounds or actions. Event-related potentials (ERPs) are a way of extracting this signal from any background noise, for example other memories, images, thoughts and plans.

Because ERPs measure the direct electrical potential from the brain they have spilt-second precision in describing neurocognitive function. Because they are sensitive to changes in the brains chemistry, ERPs have been especially useful in studying the effectiveness of medication in mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression.