Exploring links between electrophysiology (EEG) and mental wellbeing

The majority of adults without a mental illness still experience poor mental health, indicating a need for a better understanding of what separates mental wellness from mental illness. One way of exploring what separates those with good mental health from those with poor mental health is to use electroencephalography (EEG) to explore differences in brain activity within the healthy population. Previous research has shown that EEG measures differ between clinical groups and healthy participants, suggesting that these measures are useful indicators of mental functioning.

To achieve these goals, the project assessed the relationship between EEG activity and wellbeing, and between EEG and depression and anxiety symptoms to test whether there is an association between EEG and mental health. Second, the heritability of the EEG, wellbeing, depression, and anxiety was assessed to determine the extent to which these variables are explained through heritable or environmental factors. Finally, a model assessing the overlap between the heritable versus environmental contributions to each measure was developed to assess whether genetics or environment drive the relationship between EEG and mental health.

This project is based on a sample of over 400 healthy adult twins from the Australian TWIN‑E study of resilience led by A/​Prof Justine Gatt. 

This project has been completed.


Chilver MR, Park HRP, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2022). Emotional face processing correlates with depression/​anxiety symptoms but not wellbeing in non-clinical adults: An event-related potential study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 145, 18 – 26. http://​dx​.doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​j​p​s​y​c​h​i​r​e​s​.​2021​.​11.038

Chilver MR, Keller AS, Park H, Jamshidi J, Montalto A, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Harmon-Jones E, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2020). Electroencephalography profiles as a biomarker of wellbeing: A twin study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 126: 114 – 121. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​j​p​s​y​c​h​i​r​e​s​.​2020​.​04.010