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Take part in our fast periodic visual stimulation research

We're recruiting volunteers to test a new technique for measuring cognition - Fastball. This is based on how well people detect differences between stimuli.

About this study

We have developed an electroencephalography (EEG) technique called Fastball to investigate the brain’s response to stimuli like images or sounds. The project aims to design and pilot a range of Fastball tasks that capture different cognitive functions.

During Fastball, stimuli are rapidly and sequentially presented to participants. The brain generates a signal called the steady-state evoked potential (SSEP), which occurs at the same frequency as the stimuli presentation.

If a stimulus in this sequence differs from the others, an additional brain response should occur, in response to these differing stimuli. Therefore, if participants can differentiate between the two types of stimuli, we should observe two separate types of brain activity in the EEG signal, one that relates to the general stimuli presentation and one relating to the differing stimuli.

By manipulating the type of stimuli we present and how certain stimuli differ from the norm, it is possible to investigate different cognitive functions using Fastball. For example, a task that requires participants to differentiate between two semantic categories (e.g., birds and mammals), could be used to assess semantic categorisation. Alternatively, a task requiring participants to differentiate between objects and abstract shapes could assess objection perception.

These will be tested in healthy adults and compared to existing neuropsychological measures, with the eventual aim of the Fastball tasks being used as a diagnostic tool for dementia.

What you'll do during this study

You will attend one or more testing sessions in the University of Bath's EEG lab. These will last about 2 hours

During each session, you will be asked to wear a cap that measures your brain’s electrical activity; this is called EEG. EEG is a non-invasive, harmless method.

You will undergo EEG whilst watching rapidly presented images on a computer screen. We will run several variations of this task using different images.

Between task variations, you can take breaks. You will be asked to limit your movement during the computer tasks. Gel is used to improve the measurement of your brain activity, therefore you will get gel in your hair.

After the study, we will provide facilities to wash and dry your hair if you are at the university, otherwise you can wash and dry your hair at home.

Man (left) conducting an EEG scan on an elderly man

What you'll receive

You will be contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge about cognition.

You will also receive £10 per hour.

A female student studying in the library

Study start and end dates

  • Start date: 31 March 2023
  • End date: 30 September 2023


You will not be able to take part in the study if:

  • You have a neurological disorder, e.g. epilepsy
  • You have a personal or familial history of epilepsy or seizures.
  • You have ever experienced adverse reactions to flickering visual/light stimuli.
  • You have experienced any unexplained episodes of feeling faint and/or confused

Your data

All data collected during the study will be anonymised.

You will be assigned a participant number - the data you provide will be linked to that number, rather than any detail that could identify you. A paper file linking your name and participant number will be kept securely for one year after the end of the study, after which, it will be destroyed. You will be able to withdraw your data for up to a year after study completion.

Find out more or sign up

Email Oliver Hermann (

This study has been approved by the Psychology Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 22 151).