Purdue University Graduate School
Lisa Brown Master's Thesis Final.pdf (496.59 kB)


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posted on 2023-05-01, 16:04 authored by Lisa Ann BrownLisa Ann Brown


EEG is a commonly used method in both research and medical practice that is reliant on electrode to scalp contact to record brain activity.  Anti-black racism is a problem that is prevalent within EEG because of both the differences in hair texture, density, and follicle shape as well as the cultural and historical significance of Black hair and touching Black hair for Black people. The potential impact of Black people being unable to successfully receive EEG substantial including: risk of misdiagnosis, lack of representation within neurophysiological research, and negative experiences to Black patients and participants. In the current study, we began to address the gap in the literature regarding Black hair and EEG by surveying current principal investigators (PIs) who are leading laboratories using EEG as a primary method. The primary objective was to gain an initial understanding of the way in which members of laboratories primarily using EEG in various parts of the country currently engage with Black participants, and to what extent they do so at all. We utilized quantitative and qualitative questions in order to assess a variety of components for each laboratory. We used a case study method approach to data analysis. Our findings suggest that there is value in examining concerns of underrepresentation of Black people in EEG. The laboratories in our study primarily did not have tailored outreach for Black participants. Many laboratories in our sample did not alter protocols for Black participants. Eight of our nine case studies reported additional challenges when working with Black participants in comparison to Non-Black participants; Each of those laboratories reported excluding the Black participant or not using the Black participant’s data after the fact. It is essential that we continue to examine the various components of conducting EEG with Black people to gain a better understanding, and therefor inform future best practices.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dan Foti

Additional Committee Member 2

David Rollock

Additional Committee Member 3

Nadine Kaslow

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