Paperback launched: A Step-by-Step Guide to Collecting and Analyzing EEG Data with Emotiv EPOC Neuroheadset Series & EEGLAB MATLAB

A few people have been asking for the paperback version of the eBook because they felt that having this step-by-step guide in printed format would be more useful to them. The paperback edition is now available here: Paperback version (96 pages) for those interested in printed books.

The following is a summary of content of the book, followed by the table to contents, for your reference:

This book covers a step-by-step guide on the mechanics of setting up, collecting, processing, and visualizing raw EEG data (brainwaves) using Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset series with the EEGLAB (MATLAB) compiled environment open-source software. The step-by-step guide covered in this volume covers the basic mechanics and is not about complex or one-off EEG cases. This guide is ideal for people who want to get into EEG research, using Emotiv & EEGLAB, but do not know how to start. This guide should work well with all of the EPOC neuroheadset series; the EPOC, EPOC+, as well as EPOCx neuroheadsets. Whether you are a researcher, practitioner, or simply interested in the human brain, you will find it useful to study brainwaves primarily because brain frequencies tend to tell us how humans respond to stimuli at the neurological level. EEG data (brain frequencies or brainwaves) has several benefits compared to other imaging techniques or pure behavioral observations. This manual is the type of step-by-step guide that I wished I had when I was doing my grad studies. If you are interested in human brainwaves and want to learn one particular way of collecting and analyzing raw brain frequencies (EEG data), this volume is for you! By the end of this eBook, you will feel confident and uplifted enough to autonomously collect, analyze, and visualize raw brainwaves (EEG data). You will also feel confident to expand on the scope of this volume and showcase your EEG data analysis.

Here is also a summary of the content the book (Paperback version (96 pages)):


Chapter 1: Brainwaves

Overview: Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Overview: Brainwave types

Alpha Brainwaves (~ 8-12 HZ)

Beta Brainwaves (~ 13-30 HZ)

Gamma Brainwaves (~ 30+ HZ)

The international 10-20 EEG system

Chapter 2: Hardware

Setup: Emotiv EPOC Neuroheadset

Step 1: Charging and pairing the EPOC neuroheadset

Step 2: Hydrating the EPOC neuroheadset sensors

Step 3: Installing the EPOC neuroheadset sensors

Step 4: Fitting the EPOC neuroheadset

Step 5: EPOC neuroheadset placement and contact quality

Chapter 3: Software

Setup: EPOC control panel & EELAB MATLAB

Step 1: EPOC control panel software setup

Step 2: EEGLAB MATLAB setup

Chapter 4: Collecting raw EEG data

Section Five: Processing the raw EEG Data

Step 1: Starting EEGLAB MATLAB

Step 2: Importing the EEG data

Step 3: Loading raw EEG data

Step 4: Locating the neuroheadset channels

Creating CED file

Step 5: Reading the neuroheadset channel locations

Step 6: Running ICA and removing baseline

Step 7: Plotting to manually remove remaining artifacts

Chapter 6: Visualizing the EEG Data

Step 1: Channel spectra and maps

Step 2: Component maps in 2D

Step 3: Component maps in 3D

Section Seven: Interpreting EEG data


Visualizing the brain activities (EEG) during the Exploration stage

In the previous post, we covered the neural oscillations of the Exploration stage of the ISP model. However, the material was explained in either text or in table format. In this post, we will attempt to visualize the findings of this portion of the study instead.

To recap, the Exploration stage of the ISP model can be described:

Knowledge of a topic is gathered and a new personal knowledge is created. The individual endeavors to locate new knowledge to situate with previous understanding of the topic. Feelings of anxiety may be experienced if inconsistent and incompatible knowledge found.

One of the main focus of this study helped establish the neural oscillations of the ISP model. Simply put, we wanted to examine what happens in the brain during the Explorations stage.

As in, when we gather knowledge around a topic and when we situate that knowledge with previously accumulated information about the same topic, what happens to our brainwaves? Do they shift? If so, how do they change? And what if we felt either positive or negative when seeking knowledge? Would that change anything in our brain activities?

Note: This research controlled the neutral, positive, and negative conditions using the IAPS systems.

As explained in previous article, when the original state of being of the subjects was neutral, most of the human subjects showed Gamma bands (30+HZ) mainly in their left frontal lobes.

To illustrate, when feeling neutral while seeking (additional) information on a topic, our left frontal lobes show Gamma bands, which is 30+HZ in frequency:

But when the subjects emotional states were controlled towards positive or negative states, the neural oscillations as well as the locations of the bands actually changed.

In positive conditions, the left frontal lobe turned from Gamma to Beta bands. In other words, when feeling positive seeking (additional) information on a topic, our left frontal lobes show Beta bands (15-30HZ) frequency:

On the other hand, feeling negative when seeking (additional) information on a topic, we saw Gamma bands (30+HZ) in left frontal lobes AND right temporal and parietal lobs. Whereas Beta bands (15-30HZ) in the right frontal lobe.

What do these all mean though? In the next post, we will attempt to go into the potential meanings of these bands activations in the various brain lobes.

The Exploration stage of the ISP model

Almost 30 years later and the Information Search Process (ISP) model for knowledge remains as one of the most cited key theoretical frameworks in the discipline of Information Science. One of the ISP stages is the Exploration Stage. In this stage:

Knowledge of a topic is gathered and a new personal knowledge is created. The individual endeavors to locate new knowledge to situate with previous understanding of the topic. Feelings of anxiety may be experienced if inconsistent and incompatible knowledge found.

Most recent studies have emphasized the need for baseline studies to begin establishing neurophysiological data that help create foundations in understanding the underlying neurophysiology of behavior in information retrieval, such as information searching (Mostafa & Gwisdka, 2016).

This thesis attempted to establish a solid baseline for future researchers to understand the neurophysiology as well as the affective path of the information search process within the field of information science.

One of the goals of this thesis was to integrate the disciplines of neuroscience, information science, and cognitive psychology, while exploring possible connections among:

1. The affective states of the ISP model (Kuhlthau, 1991).
2. The corresponding emotional dimensions, valence versus arousal (Russell, 1980).
3. The corresponding neural oscillations, brain activities: alpha, beta, gamma (Sarraf, 2019).

This illustration summarizes some of the high-level integrated findings:


To help simplify and shorten this blog post, Russell’s valence-arousal correspondent axis is not included in the above illustration. It is, however, part of the thesis.

For your reference, here are brain lobes mentioned above:


What this all means is open to interpretations, some of which I have addressed in the thesis.

EEG artifacts removal & ERPs in Emotiv EPOC & EEGLAB

If you are new doing research with neural oscillation (EEG) type studies, chances are you feel overwhelmed in this space, not only with the software/hardware products and solutions but also with the set up and the research design and methodology as a whole.

The good news is that there are forums and communities built around this space that are quite solid and strong. Yet learning from the forum discussions can be extremely time consuming and frustrating as well. This is one of the main reasons I wrote this book, to help researchers get started without needing to read volumes of documents spread across the many existing platforms.

While the book covers most of the essentials to help set up an EEG study, using Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset and EEGLAB, there are always some specific questions that might pop up. I try to answer those questions to best of my knowledge.

However, since there are many different nuances to methodologies, it is impossible to know the answer to all questions. In those cases, I highly recommend using your preferred search engines with the specifics because the engines tend to search the keywords in forums as well. If not, you can always go directly to forums and type your questions there.

In this blog post, I am including a couple of questions that tend to come up from time to time. I am also including a few helpful links at the end of this post.

Q1: Are there any educational materials to help guide in artifact removal when you were starting?

A1: I personally read lots of forum discussions (see Emotiv forums) or EEGLab forums. I also used Google search with specific questions as they came along during my data analysis.

In regards to artifacts removal, such as eye blinking, it can mostly be learned through practice. Artifact removal tends to be tricky and is mostly learned either in school labs or in the industry. If you have no experience in recognizing artifacts, I highly recommend reading the methodology sections of various published research papers and then start practicing until you feel comfortable in both recognizing as well as removing artifacts from your EEG bands data.

Q2: What are some of the helpful documentations with regards to EEGLab, specifically in importing events, setting epoch and saving the processed data (with removal of baseline and ran ICA).

A2: To my knowledge, depending on which EPOC series you have, the Emotiv Control Panel or the Emotiv Pro have features for ERP related tools. You can use these to set your ERPs. And when it comes to the baseline and ICA removals, you can do the same process as stated in my book.

Read more here:

Also, Emotiv research page has links for research studies done at various universities. I used to scan through those papers’ methods chapters and sometimes found answers to specific questions as they came along. 

Also see:

Hope this helps. Happy holidays!

Why it’s easier than ever to develop scientific minds!

With emerging technologies, such as computational neuroscience, science is no longer for the few people who were part of special privileged/elite groups, like in the past.

These technologies, or various programming languages such as Python, are increasingly making it easier for us to get involved, even though we do not have your typical special background, money, social status, that scientists used to have 100 years ago. And so today if anybody wants to embark on doing anything scientific he or she is able to do that because of these technologies.

Full video now on YouTube: