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.