Control of Brain Activity in hMT+/V5 at Three Response Levels Using fMRI-Based Neurofeedback/BCI

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Abstract

© 2016 Sousa et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons A ttribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. A major challenge in brain-computer interface (BCI) research is to increase the number of command classes and levels of control. BCI studies often use binary control level approaches (level 0 and 1 of brain activation for each class of control). Different classes may often be achieved but not different levels of activation for the same class. The increase in the number of levels of control in BCI applications may allow for larger efficiency in neurofeedback applications. In this work we test the hypothesis whether more than two modulation levels can be achieved in a single brain region, the hMT+/V5 complex. Participants performed three distinct imagery tasks during neurofeedback training: imagery of a stationary dot, imagery of a dot with two opposing motions in the vertical axis and imagery of a dot with four opposing motions in vertical or horizontal axes (imagery of 2 or 4 motion directions). The larger the number of motion alternations, the higher the expected hMT+/V5 response. A substantial number (17 of 20) of participants achieved successful binary level of control and 12 were able to reach even 3 significant levels of control within the same session, confirming the whole group effects at the individual level. With this simple approach we suggest that it is possible to design a parametric system of control based on activity modulation of a specific brain region with at least 3 different levels. Furthermore, we show that particular imagery task instructions, based on different number of motion alternations, provide feasible achievement of different control levels in BCI and/or neurofeedback applications.

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Sousa, T., Direito, B. D., Lima, J., Ferreira, C., Nunes, U., & Castelo-Branco, M. (2016). Control of Brain Activity in hMT+/V5 at Three Response Levels Using fMRI-Based Neurofeedback/BCI. PLoS ONE, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155961

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