Concurrent fNIRS and EEG for Brain Function Investigation: A Systematic, Methodology-Focused Review

Rihui Li, Dalin Yang, Feng Fang, Keum Shik Hong, Allan L. Reiss, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) stand as state-of-the-art techniques for non-invasive functional neuroimaging. On a unimodal basis, EEG has poor spatial resolution while presenting high temporal resolution. In contrast, fNIRS offers better spatial resolution, though it is constrained by its poor temporal resolution. One important merit shared by the EEG and fNIRS is that both modalities have favorable portability and could be integrated into a compatible experimental setup, providing a compelling ground for the development of a multimodal fNIRS–EEG integration analysis approach. Despite a growing number of studies using concurrent fNIRS-EEG designs reported in recent years, the methodological reference of past studies remains unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, this review critically summarizes the status of analysis methods currently used in concurrent fNIRS–EEG studies, providing an up-to-date overview and guideline for future projects to conduct concurrent fNIRS–EEG studies. A literature search was conducted using PubMed and Web of Science through 31 August 2021. After screening and qualification assessment, 92 studies involving concurrent fNIRS–EEG data recordings and analyses were included in the final methodological review. Specifically, three methodological categories of concurrent fNIRS–EEG data analyses, including EEG-informed fNIRS analyses, fNIRS-informed EEG analyses, and parallel fNIRS–EEG analyses, were identified and explained with detailed description. Finally, we highlighted current challenges and potential directions in concurrent fNIRS–EEG data analyses in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5865
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • EEG
  • concurrent recording
  • functional NIRS
  • integrated analysis
  • multimodal neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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