Natural alpha frequency components in resting EEG and their relation to arousal
2019 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology Objective: Global EEG alpha activity is negatively correlated with skin conductance level (SCL), supporting alpha as an inverse marker of arousal. Frequency Principal Components Analysis (f-PCA) of resting EEG amplitude spectra has demonstrated natural components in the alpha band of healthy persons. This is a preliminary exploration of whether such components differ with arousal, possibly underpinning the anomalous ADHD hypoarousal link to reduced alpha. Method: Twenty-seven right-handed undergraduate students participated in three 2 minute blocks of resting eyes-open/closed EEG and SCL: EO1, EC, EO2. For each condition, mean EEG spectra were submitted to separate f-PCAs. Results: The inverse alpha/SCL relationship was confirmed for band amplitudes. EO had two alpha components; both correlated negatively with SCL. EC alpha contained four components, but only one had a substantial negative correlation with SCL; two had no relationship, suggesting natural alpha components with different non-arousal functionality in EC. Conclusion: Some alpha components in both EC and EO reflect arousal, with other non-arousal components in EC. Our f-PCA approach offers insight into previously-noted alpha anomalies in disorders such as ADHD. Significance: This proof of concept demonstration in typical participants may provide the basis for a new research effort in clinical disorders involving atypical arousal patterns.