Conscious perception of brain states: mental strategies for brain-computer communication

Journal Article

By: N.; Kubler Neumann, A.; Kaiser, J.; Thilo Hinterberger; Birbaumer, N.
Publication Name: Neuropsychologia
Year: 2003

Direct brain-computer communication utilises self-regulation of brain potentials to select letters, words or symbols from a computer menu. In this study a completely paralysed (locked-in) patient learnt to produce slow cortical potential (SCP) shifts to operate a binary spelling device. After hundreds of training sessions he gave a detailed description of his mental strategies for self-regulation. His cognitive strategies matched with the electrocortical changes perfectly. Thus he produced a contingent negative variation (CNV) with images of preparation such as an arrow being drawn on a bow. To produce a positive potential shift he imagined the arrow shooting up from the bow. To suppress potential shifts he tried to stop thinking. The study demonstrates that patients become sensitive for their brain states with increasing self-regulation practice. The use of conscious cognitive strategies may, however, be incompatible with the complete automatization of the self-regulation skill.

Click purchase to access this publication. Many may be available at no cost.