DR SQUIGGLE: SOFTWARE FOR SIMULATED MEASUREMENT OF EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS
Provost, S., Southern Cross University, Australia
This presentation describes the development of software to simulate the measurement of event-related potentials (ERPs). ERPs are time-locked averages of voltage changes measured on the scalp following presentation of various psychologically meaningful stimuli. The components revealed by the shape of the ERP are taken to reflect changes in brain activity associated with cognitive processing of the stimulus. Understanding the results of experiments utilising this technology is becoming increasingly important within general cognitive psychology and other disciplines such as speech pathology. Conveying an understanding of ERPs through verbal description with static pictures is not easy, however, and academics may be discouraged from addressing this source of evidence in their lecture material. Dr Squiggle was written to facilitate rapid understanding of the general principles involved in ERP measurement through simulation. The program displays pseudo-EEG in one window, and the results of averaging in another, making the relationship between averaging and the ERP development transparent to the non-expert audience. Dr Squiggle was written in REALbasic for the Macintosh, and attendees will be able to test-drive it and take a copy for their teaching purposes if desired. Further development of this software in Visual Basic for Windows is planned to extend its use to simulate the conduct of 'virtual' experiments. This will allow it to be used in the teaching of higher-level students in psychology and other relevant disciplines. Suggestions for useful functions to add to this product will be most welcome.