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SpatialAbilities&BCI_jeunet-lotte-hachet-subramanian-nkaoua.pdf (621.05 kB)

Spatial abilities play a major role in BCI performance

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posted on 2023-06-09, 00:44 authored by C Jeunet, F Lotte, M Hachet, Sriram Subramanian, B N N'Kaoua
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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6th International BCI Meeting

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California, USA

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30-May to 3rd June

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