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CNRG research techniques

Much of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group's activity employs high-density electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuropsychological methodologies.


High Density 128-Channel Electroencephalography (City)

The CNRG has two state-of-the-art 128-channel Ag/AgCl electroencephalography machines (GES 250 and GES 300 series amplifiers, Electrical Geodesics Inc., Eugene, OR, USA) and an electrically shielded room, located in the EEG lab (HSB 310). This system has attracted considerable activity among academics and trainees, and has been used for a wide variety of basic and clinical research studies. The group has considerable experience with sophisticated statistical and source-localisation software for handling high-density information.

64-Channel Electroencephalography (Tamaki)

The Speech Science Laboratory at Tamaki Campus houses a 64-channel Neuroscan EEG system. Auditory evoked potentials – evoked by speech sounds and words – are recorded in infants, children and adults to investigate the neural bases of auditory and language processing.


Structural and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Centre for Advanced MRI

Members of the CNRG utilising structural and functional MRI metholodogies conduct the majority of their scanning at The Centre for Advanced MRI (CAMRI) at The University of Auckland. CAMRI houses a CAMRI houses a 1.5T Magnetom Avanto Siemens MRI scanner and a 3T Skyra Siemens MRI scanner. The facility receives a high level of technical and engineering support from Siemens. We also have various MR-compatible response systems (including an 8-button response box system, an eye-tracking system and, a joystick response system from MagConcept; a 4-button response box system from Cedrus).

Analytic Techniques

In line with the varied research interests of the members of the CNRG, numerous analytic techniques are employed. These range from standard univariate analyses (e.g., contrast analyses using SPM), to multivariate techniques that enable examine the connectivity of neural networks. Connectivity analyses have included both functional (e.g., Partial Least Squares) and effective (e.g., Structural Equation Modelling; Dynamic Causal Modelling) connectivity. Structural MRI data are analyzed, both in terms of volumetrics (e.g., Voxel Based Morphomertry; MTL Width) and white matter tractography (e.g., Diffusion Tensor Imaging).


Neuropsychology and clinical research

Clinical research typically has a strong multi-disciplinary component, and methods often include neuropsychological and clinical measurements, neuroimaging techniques and correlations with neuropathological data. Research of this nature involves developing strong links with clinicians and clinical services both to facilitate reliable access to research participants, and to facilitate the feeding back of research findings results to the communities. The clinical neuropsychologists who are part of the CNRG (Lynette Tippett, Suzanne Barker-Collo) maintain good contact with the Auckland and North Shore Hospitals, as well as District Health Boards.


Other techniques and resources

Computing Resources

Various labs associate with the CNRG have acquired workstations (running on Linux CentOS 5) with sufficient storage and processing capacity (e.g., Intel Quad-Core processors, 16GB RAM) to handle the intense computations required by some neuroimaging analyses. Access to the BeSTGRID Auckland Cluster at The University of Auckland is also available.

Digital Piano

A Roland FP-4 digital piano is used for music perception, cognition and action studies. USB-connectivity enables MIDI information to be recorded and analysed for research.


An 8-channel Biovision EMG system is available to be used in conjunction with EEG recording. This system is used in movement-related studies including clinical (e.g. focal dystonia) and non-clinical (e.g. music performance) research.

Eye-Tracking Suite

Eye-tracker technology uses infrared light to illuminate the eye, allowing video-based software to calculate eye gaze based on corneal reflections and pupil positions. Using this paradigm, we are able to precisely investigate the sequence and location of eye movements involved in a variety of different visual tasks. This is important for understanding the (often unconscious) processes underlying the visual perception of complex scenes, as well as providing valuable information about the attentional processes governing visual perception.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive method to excite neurons in the brain. This technique can be applied in single or paired pulses. This system is based in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science.