A brain-computer interfacing system using prefrontal EEG signals

Kyuwan Choi, Byoung-Kyong Min

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Electroencephalography (EEG) has become a popular tool in basic brain research, but in recent years several practical limitations have been highlighted. Some of the drawbacks pertain to the offline analyses of the neural signal that prevent the subjects from engaging in real-time error correction during learning. Other limitations include the complex nature of the visual stimuli, often inducing fatigue and introducing considerable delays, possibly interfering with spontaneous performance. By replacing the complex external visual input with internally driven motor imagery we can overcome some delay problems, at the expense of losing the ability to precisely parameterize features of the input stimulus. To address these issues we here introduce a non-trivial modification to Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI). We combine the fast signal processing of motor imagery with the ability to parameterize external visual feedback in the context of a very simple control task: Attempting to intentionally control the direction of an external cursor on command. By engaging the subject in motor imagery while providing realtime visual feedback on their instantaneous performance, we can take advantage of positive features present in both externally- And internally-driven learning. We further use a classifier that automatically selects the cortical activation features that most likely maximize the performance accuracy. Under this closed loop co-adaptation system we saw a progression of the cortical activation that started in sensorymotor areas, when at chance performance motor imagery was explicitly used, migrated to BA6 under deliberate control and ended in the more frontal regions of prefrontal cortex, when at maximal performance accuracy, the subjects reportedly developed spontaneous mental control of the instructed direction. We discuss our results in light of possible applications of this simple BCI paradigm to study various cognitive phenomena involving the deliberate control of a directional signal in decision making tasks performed with intent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event2014 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, SMC 2014 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 2014 Oct 52014 Oct 8


Other2014 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, SMC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Brain plasticity
  • Direction imagery
  • EEG
  • Neurofeedback training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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