The influence of psychological state and motivation on Brain-computer interface performance in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a longitudinal study

Femke Nijboer, G Pfurtscheller (Editor), Niels Birbaumer, Andrea Kübler

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    The current study investigated the effects of psychological well-being measured as quality of life, depression, current mood and motivation on brain-computer interface (BCI) performance in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Six participants with most advanced ALS were trained either for a block of 20 sessions with a BCI based on sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) or a block of 10 sessions with a BCI based on event-related potentials (ERP), or both. Questionnaires assessed quality of life and severity of depressive symptoms before each training block and mood and motivation before each training session. The SMR-BCI required more training than the P300-BCI. The information transfer rate was higher with the P300-BCI (3.25 bits/minute) than with the SMR-BCI (1.16 bits/minute). Mood and motivation were related to the number of BCI sessions. Motivational factors, specifically challenge and mastery confidence, were positively related to BCI performance (controlled for the number of sessions) in tow participants, while incompetence fear was negatively related with performance in one participant. BCI performance was not related to motivational factors in three other participants nor to mood in any of the six participants. We conclude that motivational factors may be related to BCI performance in individual subjects and suggest that motivational factors and well-being should be assessed in standard BCI protocols. We also recommend using P300-based BCI as first choice in severely paralysed patients who present with a P300 evoked potential.
    Original languageUndefined
    Article number10.3389/fnins.2010.00055
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalFrontiers in neuroprosthetics
    Issue number10.3389/fnins.2010.00055
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2010


    • locked-in
    • sensorimotor rhythms
    • EWI-18218
    • Motivation
    • Brain-Computer Interface
    • EEG
    • P300
    • METIS-277415
    • IR-72471
    • Mood

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