Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of EEG and MEG

To summarize, the chief strengths of EEG and MEG are the following. First, they are direct measures of the physiological activity of neural systems. Second, they are noninvasive. Third, electrical and magnetic monitoring of brain activity can reveal changes over very small delays (1 msec or less), which are crucially within the range of interneuronal communication time. EEG has an additional advantage of being one of the most inexpensive methods of neuroimaging; cost is actually a disadvantage of MEG, which is very expensive (at least 10 times more than EEG) in large part because of the cost of acquiring and maintaining the SQUIDs. The main disadvantage of both EEG and MEG is that they cannot indicate the location of activity on the surface of the brain very well (on the order of 10 mm) and are even worse at indicating activity in the neural structures located deep beneath the surface.

We now turn to methods that have properties complementary to EEG and MEG: good spatial resolution, but poor temporal resolution.

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