I'm looking to do some research about flow and optimal experience with EEG. I don't have access to a lab and I was wondering if the new devices that are available to the public (i.e. Melon, Muse, iFocust,...) are any good to conduct research? Is it all just a marketing gimmick?

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    $\begingroup$ Flow is tough to experiment upon; I would suggest finding any EEG/flow work you can, looking at what differences they find between flow and not-flow states, and then investigating these devices with a view to those differences. It's possible that they'll be able to see these changes, but it's very possible that they won't. $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    Oct 21, 2014 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ To add to @Krysta's comment, the issue is also that "Flow" has a very loose definition, which makes predicting electrophysiological effects difficult. Please see: cogsci.stackexchange.com/a/7655/2926 $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Is it possible to detect the mental flow state with EEG? $\endgroup$
    – Seanny123
    Nov 16, 2014 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


The Emotiv system has been evaluated in a research setting. Badcock et al. (2013) recorded EEG activity with the Emotiv EPOC and a more conventional laboratory system simultaneously, and found that both systems produced similar results for ERPs with a relatively high signal-to-noise ratio, but it was harder to detect less reliable signals with the EPOC than with the standard lab setup they used.


Badcock, N. A., Mousikou, P., Mahajan, Y., de Lissa, P., Thie, J., & McArthur, G. (2013). Validation of the Emotiv EPOC® EEG gaming system for measuring research quality auditory ERPs. PeerJ, 1, e38. fulltext

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    $\begingroup$ One issue that should be mentioned when comparing laboratory to non-laboratory settings is that of cap placement. For EEG systems to generalize across sessions and across individuals, it's important to consistently place the cap so that the electrodes are in contact with the same portion of the skull, as scalp-level topographies vary immensely. This is typically harder to do with systems like Emotiv's EPOC because they have no Cz reference electrode. Care must also be taken to control for occular components. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 14:45

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