Have you been invited to our lab as a participant in an experiment? Great! Here’s a rundown of essential information to help you get a better grasp of what to expect.
Preparing for Your Visit
EEG and ERP experiments – the latter is essentially a special version of the former – are most often relatively simple, at least for the participants. All you really need to think about in advance is the following:
- Please wash your hair thoroughly at home prior to arriving. This helps improve the signal from the EEG electrodes used to record your brain activity.
- Please bring a brush or comb, as you will be asked to brush/comb your hair thoroughly prior to attaching the EEG electrodes (again, this helps improve the signal).
- Please bring a towel or blow-dryer or similar to dry your hair, in case you want to rinse the electrode gel out of it immediately after the session (more on which below).
- If you typically wear contact lenses, it is preferable for you to wear your glasses during the experiment itself. Most experiments involve visual focus for long periods of time, and contact lenses dry out your eyes quicker than do glasses.
- Similarly, if you tend to get dry eyes when focusing visually for extended periods of time (e.g. in front of a computer screen), then please bring whatever eye drops you normally use to mitigate the dryness.
- Unless instructed otherwise, please ensure you are well-rested and not too hungry. Also, please don’t drink coffee for a few hours prior to your scheduled time, since this can negatively impact the signal.
- Otherwise, simply try to make sure you come on time (contact the person running the experiment if not), and wear comfortable clothes.
Finding the Lab
Our lab is located on the University of Skövde campus, in the A-building, on the top (fourth) floor, in room A409.
The easiest way of finding A409 is to enter the A-building through the main entrance (the circular stairwell that juts out at the front of the building), take the elevator all the way to the top, enter into the corridor immediately ahead, and then turn right and follow the corridor to its end. Once at the end of the corridor, you will be facing a closed door, with a number of bathrooms off to your right. Through the closed door lies a second, relatively unused, stairwell, from which the lab, in room A409, is immediately to your right.
An alternative way of reaching A409 is to enter the building from the East, and simply take the stairs up to the fourth floor, whereupon you will, again, be just outside A409. The ground floor Eastern entrance is a bit more nondescript, and so perhaps not as obvious as the main entrance, but it is also open during the A-building’s normal opening hours.
Unless you have agreed otherwise with the person running the experiment, it is preferable that you wait for them to collect you from the lab stairwell, immediately outside A409. In order to minimize disturbing echos for staff and students working on other floors, please keep noise-levels down a little while waiting.
During the Session
Once you arrive, you will be given a brief orientation of the lab and, typically, some sort of short explanation of the experimental protocol. Most often, this will involve sitting in a comfortable chair, having an elastic electrode cap fitted onto your head, and seeing or hearing stimuli of some sort, as well as, possibly, being asked to respond in some manner, e.g. through buttons on a controller.
Some things worth noting about this:
- For the electrodes to work, the person running the experiment will need to apply electrode gel, a water-based substance. Not a lot of it is used, but since the electrodes are in the cap, on your hair, it does mean you will have some gel left in your hair after the experiment.
- In order to position the electrode cap correctly, the person running the experiment may need to make a tiny mark or two on your scalp/hair, on the basis of certain skull measurements they will take from you. This will be done with some lipstick or similar, and may remain slightly visible until you wash your hair, particularly if you have light-colored hair.
- For the electrode cap to sit snugly and function as it ought to, it will need to be attached by either a strap that goes under your chin or a strap that goes around your chest. They should not be uncomfortable, so please request that the person running the experiment adjust them as necessary if they are.
Please also remember to switch off your mobile phone while in the lab, so that it doesn’t disturb either the technical equipment or the experimental work.
After the Session
Once you are finished, you will be given the opportunity to rinse the electrode gel out of your hair. The person running the experiment will show you to the lab bathroom, where we have a flexible shower hose attached to the sink, to facilitate such rinsing. This is why we ask you to bring your own towel/blow-dryer.
After that, when you leave, you can return the way you came – either through the main building and down the elevator, or simply down the stairs and out the side entrance at the ground floor.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the experiment, please contact the person running the experiment that you will be participating in.
Otherwise, we thank you for your participation!