An EEG records the electrical activity of the brain. An EEG shows voltage differences as a function of time and shows what have become known as "brain waves".

Is there a scientific/technical word/phrase for one of these measured "brain waves"?

  • $\begingroup$ fyi: galvanic skin responses are not the same as EEG - I edited the question therefore to prevent confusion $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 3, 2016 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


The terminology around EEGs is variable, dependent on the context;

  • Brain wave is fine, but has a bit of a popular undertone;
  • Oscillation, as per the deleted answer, implicitly refers to a longer-term behavior, i.e., something periodic (EEG);
  • Waveform is often used to describe a single event with a recognizable shape (ERP, compound action potentials, etc.);
  • EEG signal/recording/trace is more than fine too, it doesn't carry any implicit meaning about its nature, it does carry relevant information on the method used;
  • EEG is fine too, EEG means electroencephalogram, the 'gram' suffix comes from Greek, where it means “something written,” or a “drawing”, so literally it means something like "graph of the electrical brain". So simply speaking of 'the EEG' is OK as well.

This list may not be exhaustive, merely illustrative


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