Identifying changes in EEG information transfer during drowsy driving by transfer entropy

Chih-Sheng Huang, Nikhil R. Pal, Chun-Hsiang Chuang, Chin-Teng Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Drowsy driving is a major cause of automobile accidents. Previous studies used neuroimaging based approaches such as analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) activities to understand the brain dynamics of different cortical regions during drowsy driving. However, the coupling between brain regions responding to this vigilance change is still unclear. To have a comprehensive understanding of neural mechanisms underlying drowsy driving, in this study we use transfer entropy, a model-free measure of effective connectivity based on information theory. We investigate the pattern of information transfer between brain regions when the vigilance level, which is derived from the driving performance, changes from alertness to drowsiness. Results show that the couplings between pairs of frontal, central, and parietal areas increased at the intermediate level of vigilance, which suggests that an enhancement of the cortico-cortical interaction is necessary to maintain the task performance and prevent behavioral lapses. Additionally, the occipital-related connectivity magnitudes monotonically decreases as the vigilance level declines, which further supports the cortical gating of sensory stimuli during drowsiness. Neurophysiological evidence of mutual relationships between brain regions measured by transfer entropy might enhance the understanding of cortico-cortical communication during drowsy driving.
Original languageEnglish
Article number570
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2015


  • drowsy driving
  • EEG
  • effective connectivity
  • transfer entropy
  • Driving performance

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