Event-related potentials (ERPs) are recordings of electrical activity along the scalp time-locked to perceptual, motor and cognitive events. Because ERP signals are often rare and weak, relative to the large between-subject variability, establishing significant associations between ERPs and behavioral (or experimental) variables of interest poses major challenges for statistical analysis. Noting that ERP time dependence exhibits a block pattern suggesting strong local and long-range autocorrelation components, we propose a flexible factor modeling of dependence. An adaptive factor adjustment procedure is derived from a joint estimation of the signal and noise processes, given a prior knowledge of the noise-alone intervals. A simulation study is presented using known signals embedded in a real dependence structure extracted from authentic ERP measurements. The proposed procedure performs well compared with existing multiple testing procedures and is more powerful at discovering interesting ERP features.
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