Regularity and randomness in ageing: Differences in resting-state EEG complexity measured by largest Lyapunov exponent

Matthew King-Hang Ma, Manson Cheuk-Man Fong, Chenwei Xie, Tan Lee, Guanrong Chen, William Shiyuan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The loss of complexity in ageing hypothesis (LOCH) has found support from EEG studies, most of which adopted signal-domain complexity measures. The present study adopted the largest Lyapunov exponent (LLE) to measure complexity from a nonlinear dynamical systems perspective. A total of 144 participants were included and divided into young, young-old and old-old groups. Both sensor-space and source-space results showed significantly lower LLE for older than younger adults. The age-related differences were region-dependent, being most prominent in the frontal region, followed by bilateral temporal regions. The occipital region showed non-significant differences. Significant reduction of LLE in the posterior cingulate was also observed by virtue of the source-space analysis. We also evaluated the relationships between LLE and other complexity measures. The most intriguing result was the negative correlation between LLE and Lempel-Ziv complexity (LZC). The age-related decrease in LLE indicated a higher regularity in dynamics, while the higher LZC indicated a higher randomness in the signal domain. The new findings support the LOCH by demonstrating the simultaneous increase in regularity and randomness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100054
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroimage: Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2021


  • complexity
  • ageing
  • EEG
  • largest Lyapunov exponent
  • resting state

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