We discuss the application of beamforming techniques to the field of magnetoencephalography (MEG). We argue that beamformers have given us an insight into the dynamics of oscillatory changes across the cortex not explored previously with traditional analysis techniques that rely on averaged evoked responses. We review several experiments that have used beamformers, with special emphasis on those in which the results have been compared to those observed in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and on those studying induced phenomena. We suggest that the success of the beamformer technique, despite the assumption that there are no linear interactions between the mesoscopic local field potentials across distinct cortical areas, may tell us something of the balance between functional integration and segregation in the human brain. What is more, MEG beamformer analysis facilitates the study of these complex interactions within cortical networks that are involved in both sensory-motor and cognitive processes. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
- event-related synchronisation/desynchronisation
- minimum-variance beamformer
- Synthetic aperture magnetometry