Spatial Abilities Play a Major Role in BCI Performance

Camille Jeunet 1, 2 Fabien Lotte 1, 3 Martin Hachet 3, 1 Sriram Subramanian 4 Bernard N'Kaoua 5, 2
1 Potioc - Popular interaction with 3d content
LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest
5 Phoenix - Programming Language Technology For Communication Services
EA4136 - Handicap et système nerveux :Action, communication, interaction: rétablissement de la fonction et de la participation [Bordeaux], Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest, LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique
Abstract : Introduction: Despite their promising potential impact for many applications, Mental-Imagery based BCIs (MI-BCIs) remain barely used outside laboratories. One reason is that 15% to 30% of naïve users seem unable to control them [1] and only a few reach high control abilities. Although different predictors of BCI performance (i.e., command classification accuracy) have been investigated to explain this huge inter-user variability [2, 3], no strong predictive model has yet been determined. This could be due to (a) the often small samples used (N=5 or 6) and (b) the fact that these predictors have been mostly determined based on one-session experiments. Yet there is no evidence that performance obtained at the first session is predictive of users' MI-BCI control ability. Material, Methods and Results: In [4], we investigated the impact of the user's personality and cognitive profile on MI-BCI performance based on a 6-session experiment. Averaging performances over these sessions reduced the intra-subject variability (e.g., due to fatigue or external factors), and thus led to a better estimation of participants' MI-BCI control ability. Each session comprised 5 runs during which the participants (N=18) had to learn to perform 3 MI tasks: left-hand motor imagery, mental rotation and mental calculation. The results stressed the impact of mental rotation scores (measured using questionnaires), and which reflect Spatial Abilities (SA), on mean MI-BCI performance [r=0.696, p<0.05] (see Fig. 1[A]). SA are the mental capacities which enable the construction, transformation and interpretation of mental images. In a more recent study (to be published), we trained 20 participants to control a 2-class MI-BCI by performing motor-imagery of their left-and right-hands, within 1 session of 5 runs. Results confirmed the role of SA: mental rotation scores were correlated with peak MI-BCI performance [r=0.464, p<0.05]. This suggests that SA are a generic predictor of MI-BCI performances. Figure 1. [A] Diagram representing the mean classification accuracy for the different subjects as a function of their mental rotation score; [B] One item per exercise included in the Spatial Ability training:the shape on top is the target, and the participant must identify the two shapes that are identical to the target among the four below.
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Camille Jeunet, Fabien Lotte, Martin Hachet, Sriram Subramanian, Bernard N'Kaoua. Spatial Abilities Play a Major Role in BCI Performance. 6th International BCI Meeting, May 2016, Asilomar, United States. 2016. ⟨hal-01285369⟩

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