EEG (electroencephalography) offers a non-invasive way of observing the brain in action. We record electrical signals originating in the brain by measuring electrical activity at the scalp. Responses that are time-locked to the presentation of a particular experimental event (e.g. the presentation of a word or speech sound), are known as event-related potentials, or ERPs. They appear on a waveform as peaks or troughs time-locked with the experimental event.
The Linguistics Department at the University of Maryland features a fully functional, 128-channel Neuroscan ERP testing facility. By using event-related potentials, researchers have the ability to make fine-grained recordings of the brain in action as it processes language. This is a powerful tool which in turn helps shape cutting-edge linguistic theory. More information on past and present projects involving EEG recordings can be found in the Research section.