Why Standard Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Training Protocols Should be Changed: An Experimental Study

Camille Jeunet 1, 2, * Emilie Jahanpour 1, 2 Fabien Lotte 3, 2
* Corresponding author
2 Potioc - Popular interaction with 3d content
LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest
Abstract : Objective While promising, ElectroEncephaloGraphy based Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) remain barely used due to their lack of reliability: 15% to 30% of users are unable to control a BCI. Standard training protocols may be partly responsible as they do not satisfy recommendations from psychology. Our main objective was to determine in practice to what extent standard training protocols impact users' Motor-Imagery based BCI (MI-BCI) control performance. Approach We performed two experiments. The first consisted in evaluating a standard BCI training protocol efficiency for the acquisition of non-BCI related skills in a BCI-free context, which enabled to rule out the possible impact of BCIs on the training outcome. Thus, participants (N=54) were asked to perform simple motor-tasks. The second experiment aimed at measuring the correlations between motor-task and MI-BCI performances. The 10 best and 10 worst performers of the first study were recruited for an MI-BCI experiment during which they had to learn to perform 2 MI-tasks. We also assessed users' spatial abilities and pre-training mu rhythm amplitude, as both have been related to MI-BCI performance in the literature. Main Results Around 17% of the participants were unable to learn to perform the motor-tasks, which is close to the BCI-illiteracy rate. It suggests that standard training protocols are suboptimal for skill-teaching. No correlation was found between motor-task and MI-BCI performance. However, spatial abilities played an important role in MI-BCI performance. Besides, once the " spatial ability" covariable had been controlled for, using an ANCOVA, it appeared that participants who faced difficulty during the first experiment improved during the second while the others did not. Significance These studies suggest that 1) standard MI-BCI training protocols are suboptimal for skill-teaching, 2) spatial abilities are confirmed to impact MI-BCI performances and 3) when faced with difficult pre-training, subjects seem to explore more strategies and therefore learn better.
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Camille Jeunet, Emilie Jahanpour, Fabien Lotte. Why Standard Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Training Protocols Should be Changed: An Experimental Study. Journal of Neural Engineering, IOP Publishing, 2016. ⟨hal-01302154⟩

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