Mental-Imagery based Brain-Computer Interfaces (MI-BCIs) allow their users to send commands to a computer using their brain-activity alone (typically measured by ElectroEncephaloGraphy EEG), which is processed while they perform specific mental tasks. While very promising, MI-BCIs remain barely used outside laboratories because of the difficulty encountered by users to control them. Indeed, although some users obtain good control performances after training, a substantial proportion remains unable to reliably control an MI-BCI. This huge variability in user-performance led the community to look for predictors of MI-BCI control ability. However, these predictors were only explored for motor-imagery based BCIs, and mostly for a single training session per subject. In this study, 18 participants were instructed to learn to control an EEG-based MI-BCI by performing 3 MI-tasks, 2 of which were non-motor tasks, across 6 training sessions, on 6 different days. Relationships between the participants BCI control performances and their personality, cognitive profile and neurophysiological markers were explored. While no relevant relationships with neurophysiological markers were found, strong correlations between MI-BCI performances and mental-rotation scores (reflecting spatial abilities) were revealed. Also, a predictive model of MI-BCI performance based on psychometric questionnaire scores was proposed. A leave-one-subject-out cross validation process revealed the stability and reliability of this model: it enabled to predict participants performance with a mean error of less than 3 points. This study determined how users profiles impact their MI-BCI control ability and thus clears the way for designing novel MI-BCI training protocols, adapted to the profile of each user.
Jeunet, C., Nkaoua, B., Subramanian, S., Hachet, M., & Lotte, F. (2015). Predicting Mental Imagery-Based BCI Performance from Personality, Cognitive Profile and Neurophysiological Patterns. PLoS ONE, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143962