The aim was to understand between-volunteer differences in Electromyography (EMG) behaviour during chewing. EMG was used to record the electrical activity of the temporal and masseter muscles of volunteers, who carried out mastication movements by operating calibrated springs held between their incisors. The volunteers coordinated their jaw movements with the signal produced by a metronome, at four rates: 30, 60, 90 and 120 beats per minute (bpm). Raw data were analyzed to examine the distributions of the intervals between chews. For the highest prescribed chew rates, the volunteers' distributions were very similar. The distributions varied most for the 30 bpm data, suggesting that volunteers differed in their ability to carry out and maintain this prescribed chewing pattern. The data were Fourier transformed to give power spectra in the frequency domain. The low frequency (<10 Hz) region contained spectral features related to the prescribed chew rate. Principal component analysis of the power spectra revealed that readings from each volunteer clustered together, and the clusters could be largely separated. Such grouping was found irrespective of whether data from each chew rate were analyzed separately or simultaneously. This indicated that within-volunteer variance, arising from the different chew rates as well as between-session variance, is lower than between-volunteer variance; even when individuals are asked to make jaw movements in the same prescribed manner, they can nevertheless be uniquely distinguished by their muscle activity as recorded by EMG.
- Prescribed chewing