What is PURSUE?
PURSUE is a collaborative initiative to facilitate the training of undergraduates in cognitive electrophysiology. To achieve this goal, the PURSUE team has set out the following objectives:
- To work with faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions across the country to create engaging, evidence-based educational materials with instructional support that can be used flexibly in a variety of classroom settings. After initial testing and revision, these materials will be freely available for download on this website. Through faculty implementation and feedback, we hope to continue the cycle of innovation to test and revise the materials.
- To create a faculty-learning community and social network that will provide support and encouragement for faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions who wish to involve undergraduates in cognitive electrophysiology to teach and conduct research on brain-behavior relationships.
What is Cognitive Electrophysiology?
Cognitive electrophysiology is a direct measure of brain activity measured through electrodes placed on the scalp. It includes electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERP). EEG/ERP studies examine changes in scalp-recorded brain electrical activity corresponding to cognitive processing in real time. EEG refers to the dynamic, ongoing electrical activity recorded during cognitive processing. ERP refers to the most commonly used method of electrophysiological research, relying on signal averaging to extract the activity reliably linked with specific sensory stimuli and/or motor responses (the electrical potentials that are related to specific events). Cognitive electrophysiology is well suited for undergraduate research education because the equipment and supplies are relatively inexpensive, and yet the opportunities for learning are immense. It allows students to learn about neurobiology, physics, psychology, mathematics, engineering, statistics, and computer science and to integrate across these fields, which is important for real-world applications. The skills learned in an ERP lab are transferable to many areas of research and to practical applications of science in medicine, engineering, computer-human interaction, etc.