Psychological predictors of SMR-BCI performance
Background: After about 30 years of research on Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) there is little knowledge about the phenomenon, that some people - healthy as well as individuals with disease - are not able to learn BCI-control. To elucidate this "BCI-inefficiency" phenomenon, the current study investigated whether psychological parameters, such as attention span, personality or motivation, could predict performance in a single session with a BCI controlled by modulation of sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) with motor imagery. Methods: A total of N = 83 healthy BCI novices took part in the session. Psychological parameters were measured with an electronic test-battery including clinical, personality and performance tests. Predictors were determined by binary logistic regression analyses. Results: The output variable of the Two-Hand Coordination Test (2HAND) "overall mean error duration" which is a measure for the accuracy of fine motor skills accounted for 11% of the variance in BCI-inefficiency. The Attitudes Towards Work (AHA) test variable "performance level" which can be interpreted as a degree of concentration and a neurophysiological SMR predictor were also identified as significant predictors of SMR BCI performance. Conclusion: Psychological parameters as measured in this study play a moderate role for one-session performance in a BCI controlled by modulation of SMR.