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Event-related potentials (ERPs)

At Goldsmiths InfantLab, we study children’s cognitive development using and adapting different techniques. One of these is called Event-Related Potentials (ERPs).
These allow us to measure natural brain activity in response to different tasks. This activity is produced by all of us as we think and can be recorded using passive sensors that are gently placed on the head (see photo below). This technique is a more recent advance, and importantly can teach us when and how the brain develops. It also enables us to learn which areas of the brain are involved in different behaviours. This technique is completely safe, non-invasive and has allowed researchers and medical doctors to study our most complex organ, the brain, for over 60 years. There is no risk associated with measuring brain activity. Nothing comes out of the sensors. It is like a thermometer that takes your temperature but cannot change your temperature.

If you are happy for us to proceed with the net study, this is what will happen:
• You will be with your baby at all times during the study.
• First we measure your baby’s head circumference with a soft tape measure so we can choose the correct net size for your baby.
• Then we soak the net in warm, salty water with a bit of baby shampoo, this enables us to receive a good recording and also makes the sensors softer.
• Placing the net on a baby’s head is quick and simple as it goes on just like a swimming cap. While we are putting the net on we will play with your baby to keep him/her from focusing on the net.

Generally babies are quite happy having the net on (it’s just like wearing a hat), but if your baby becomes fussy at any point, we can take the net off straight away.

If you would like any additional information about this technique then please get in touch.

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