Cognitive neuroscience, in particular research on speech and language, has seen an increase in the use of linear modeling techniques for studying the processing of natural, environmental stimuli. The availability of such computational tools has prompted similar investigations in many clinical domains, facilitating the study of cognitive and sensory deficits under more naturalistic conditions. However, studying clinical (and often highly heterogeneous) cohorts introduces an added layer of complexity to such modeling procedures, potentially leading to instability of such techniques and, as a result, inconsistent findings. Here, we outline some key methodological considerations for applied research, referring to a hypothetical clinical experiment involving speech processing and worked examples of simulated electrophysiological (EEG) data. In particular, we focus on experimental design, data preprocessing, stimulus feature extraction, model design, model training and evaluation, and interpretation of model weights. Throughout the paper, we demonstrate the implementation of each step in MATLAB using the mTRF-Toolbox and discuss how to address issues that could arise in applied research. In doing so, we hope to provide better intuition on these more technical points and provide a resource for applied and clinical researchers investigating sensory and cognitive processing using ecologically rich stimuli.
- clinical and translational neurophysiology
- neural decoding
- neural encoding
- temporal response function
ASJC Scopus subject areas