VIGALL: Vigilance Algorithm Leipzig 2.1

The Vigilance Algorithm Leipzig (VIGALL) software allows objective classification of vigilance in resting EEG recordings, as well as in relation to stimuli in ERP paradigms. It is implemented as an Add-In for BrainVision Analyzer 2.1, developed by BrainProducts.

VIGALL was developed at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Leipzig with support of the Leipzig Research Center for Civilisation Diseases (LIFE). The latest Version (VIGALL 2.1) was developed and validated at the Research Centre of the German Depression Foundation. It is freely available to all interested researchers from this web site.


Installation instructions

  1. Make sure your installed version of BrainVision Analyzer 2.1 is up to date with the latest patches installed. VIGALL cannot be used by older versions of Analyzer 2.1 and will not appear in the AddIn menu in these.
  2. Download VIGALL and its manual.
  3. Copy VIGALL into your BrainVision Analyzer 2 folder (usually C:\Vision\Analyzer2\).
  4. Start BrainVision Analyzer 2, find VIGALL added to the Add Ins Tab in the menu.

    If it does not appear: Please make sure you're running the most recent version of Analyzer 2.1, i.e. check for any patches available from BrainProducts and install them if necessary. If your operating system automatically disables unregistered DLLs, you need to give permission to run in the context (right-click) menu of the DLL file. Depending on your operating system's settings, it may be necessary to run Analyzer as the same user who copied the DLL into the analyzer folder.

  5. Refer to the manual for all further instructions!

SEM Helper

A Microsoft Excel template with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro can be found below. It supports the plausibility-check of stage 0-classification, as recommended in the VIGALL manual. By integrating context information into the classification, the VBA reclassifies stages 0 as stages B1 if they occur in close proximity of B2/3- or C-stages even in the absence of SEMs, as SEMs are characteristic but not imperative for drowsiness patterns.

Research on VIGALL

Here we present a collection of articles about VIGALL and its applications. This page will be updated on a regular basis. Currently, several other studies on VIGALL are under review. These, for example, investigate arousal regulation in manic versus depressive episodes, arousal regulation as treatment response predictor, or evoked potentials during different states of brain arousal.

We would be happy to also put VIGALL studies of other working groups on this page. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Recent reviews on VIGALL and the Arousal Regulation Model

  • Hegerl U & Hensch T (2017) Why do stimulants not work in typical depression? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 51: 20-22.
  • Hegerl U, Ulke C (2016). Fatigue with up- vs. downregulated brain arousal should not be confused. Progress in Brain Research. Elsevier, 2016. S. 239-254.
  • Hegerl U, Sander C, Hensch T (2016). Arousal Regulation in Affective Disorders. In: Frodl T (ed). Systems Neuroscience in Depression. Academic Press: Amsterdam, pp 341-370.
  • Sander C, Hensch T, Wittekind DA, Bottger D, Hegerl U (2015). Assessment of Wakefulness and Brain Arousal Regulation in Psychiatric Research. Neuropsychobiology 72(3-4): 195-205.
  • Geissler J, Romanos M, Hegerl U, Hensch T (2014). Hyperactivity and sensation seeking as autoregulatory attempts to stabilize brain arousal in ADHD and mania? Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders 6(3): 159-173.
  • Hegerl U, Hensch T (2014). The vigilance regulation model of affective disorders and ADHD. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 44: 45-57.

VIGALL in clinical and subclinical samples

  • Ulke, C., Wittekind, D. A., Spada, J., Franik, K., Jawinski, P., Hensch, T., & Hegerl, U. Brain arousal regulation in SSRI-medicated patients with major depression. Journal of psychiatric research, 108, 34-39.
  • Ulke, C, Tenke, Kayser, Sander, Böttger, Alvarenga, Fava, McGrath, Deldin, Mcinnis, Trivedi, Weissman, Pizzagalli, Hegerl, and Bruder. Resting EEG measures of brain arousal in a multisite study of major depression. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 2018 50(1), 3-12.
  • Ulke, C., Mauche, N., Makiol, C., Bednasch, K., Wittekind, D. A., Hegerl, U., & Strauß, M. (2018). Successful treatment in a case of ultra‐rapid cycling bipolar disorder is reflected in brain arousal regulation. Bipolar disorders, 20(1), 77-80.
  • Strauss M, Ulke C, Paucke M, Huang J, Mauche N, Sander C, Stark T & Hegerl U (2018). Brain arousal regulation in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Psychiatry Res 2018; 261:102-8.
  • Schmidt FM, Sander C, Dietz ME, Nowak C, Schroder T, Mergl R, Schönknecht P, Himmerich H & Hegerl U (2017) Brain arousal regulation as response predictor for antidepressant therapy in major depression. Sci Rep 2017; 7:45187.
  • Wittekind DA, Spada J, Groß A, Hensch T, Jawinski P, Ulke C, Sander C, Hegerl U (2016) Early report on brain arousal regulation in manic versus depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders 18: 502-510.
  • Ulke C, Sander C, Jawinski P,Mauche N, Huang J,Spada J, Wittekind D, Mergl R, Luck T, Riedel-Heller S, Hensch T, Hegerl U (2017). Sleep disturbances and upregulation of brain arousal during daytime in depressed versus non-depressed elderly subjects. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 18: 633-640.
  • Schmidt FM, Pschiebl A, Sander C, Kirkby KC, Thormann J, Minkwitz J, Chittka T, Weschenfelder J, Holdt LM, Teupser D, Hegerl U, Himmerich H. (2016). Impact of Serum Cytokine Levels on EEG-Measured Arousal Regulation in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Healthy Controls. Neuropsychobiology 73(1): 1-9.
  • Olbrich S, Olbrich H, Jahn I, Sander C, Adamaszek M, Hegerl U, Reque F, Stengler K (2013). EEG-vigilance regulation during the resting state in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology 24(3): 497-502.
  • Hegerl U, Wilk K, Olbrich S, Schoenknecht P, Sander C (2012). Hyperstable regulation of vigilance in patients with major depressive disorder. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 13(6): 436-446.
  • Olbrich S, Sander C, Jahn I, Eplinius F, Claus S, Mergl R, Schönknecht P, Hegerl U (2012). Unstable EEG-vigilance in patients with cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in comparison to healthy controls. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 13(2): 146-152.
  • Olbrich S, Sander C, Minkwitz J, Chittka T, Mergl R, Hegerl U, Himmerich H (2012). EEG vigilance regulation patterns and their discriminative power to separate patients with major depression from healthy controls. Neuropsychobiology 65(4): 188-194.
  • Sander C, Arns M, Olbrich S, Hegerl U (2010). EEG-vigilance and response to stimulants in paediatric patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Clin Neurophysiol 121(9): 1511-1518.
  • Schoenknecht P, Olbrich S, Sander C, Spindler P, Hegerl U (2010). Treatment of acute mania with modafinil monotherapy. Biol Psychiatry 67(11): e55-e57.

VIGALL in basic research

  • Ulke, C., Huang, J., Schwabedal, J. T., Surova, G., Mergl, R., & Hensch, T. (2017). Coupling and dynamics of cortical and autonomic signals are linked to central inhibition during the wake-sleep transition. Scientific reports, 7(1), 11804.
  • Jawinski P, Kirsten H, Sander C, Spada J, Ulke C, Huang J, Burkhardt R, Scholz M, Hensch T & Hegerl U (in press). Human brain arousal in the resting state: A genome-wide association study. Molecular Psychiatry
  • Jawinski P, Sander C, Mauche N, Spada J, Huang J, Schmidt A, Häntzsch M, Burkhardt R, Scholz M, Hegerl U, Hensch T. (2015). Brain Arousal Regulation in Carriers of Bipolar Disorder Risk Alleles. Neuropsychobiology 72(2): 65-73.
  • Bekhtereva V, Sander C, Forschack N, Olbrich S, Hegerl U, Müller MM (2014). Effects of EEG-vigilance regulation patterns on early perceptual processes in human visual cortex. Clinical Neurophysiology 125(1): 98-107.
  • Minkwitz J, Trenner MU, Sander C, Olbrich S, Sheldrick AJ, Hegerl U, Himmerich H (2012). Time perception at different EEG-vigilance levels. Behavioral and Brain Functions : BBF 8: 50.

Studies on reliability and validity of VIGALL

  • Huang, J., Ulke, C., Sander, C., Jawinski, P., Spada, J., Hegerl, U., & Hensch, T. (2018). Impact of brain arousal and time-on-task on autonomic nervous system activity in the wake-sleep transition. BMC neuroscience, 19(1), 18.
  • Huang J, Ulke C, Sander C, Jawinski P, Spada J, Hegerl U, Hensch T (2018). Impact of brain arousal and time-on-task on autonomic nervous system activity in the wake-sleep transition BMC Neuroscience 19: 18.
  • Huang J, Hensch T, Ulke C, Sander C, Spada J, Jawinski P & Hegerl U (2017) Evoked potentials and behavioral performance during different states of brain arousal. BMC Neurosci 18: 21.
  • Jawinski P, Kittel J, Sander C, Huang J, Spada J, Ulke C, Wirkner K, Hensch T & Hegerl U. (2017). Recorded and Reported Sleepiness: The Association Between Brain Arousal in Resting State and Subjective Daytime Sleepiness. Sleep 40.
  • Huang J, Sander C, Jawinski P, Ulke C, Spada J, Hegerl U, Hensch T (2015). Test-retest reliability of brain arousal regulation as assessed with VIGALL 2.0. Neuropsychiatric Electrophysiology 1(1): 1-13.
  • Olbrich S, Fischer MM, Sander C, Hegerl U, Wirtz H, Bosse-Henck A (2015). Objective markers for sleep propensity: comparison between the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and the Vigilance Algorithm Leipzig. J Sleep Res 24(4): 450-457.
  • Guenther T, Schonknecht P, Becker G, Olbrich S, Sander C, Hesse S, Meyer PM, Luthardt J, Hegerl U, Sabri O. (2011). Impact of EEG-vigilance on brain glucose uptake measured with [(18)F]FDG and PET in patients with depressive episode or mild cognitive impairment. Neuroimage 56(1): 93-101.
  • Olbrich S, Sander C, Matschinger H, Mergl R, Trenner M, Schoenknecht P, Hegerl U (2011). Brain and Body: Associations Between EEG-Vigilance and the Autonomous Nervous System Activity During Rest. Journal of Psychophysiology 25(4): 190–200.
  • Olbrich S, Mulert C, Karch S, Trenner M, Leicht G, Pogarell O, Hegerl U (2009). EEG-vigilance and BOLD effect during simultaneous EEG/fMRI measurement. Neuroimage 45(2): 319-332.

Source code

The VIGALL source code, written in C# using the .NET framework, is licensed under the GPL3 and publicly available at