A 3-D Immersive Environment for Characterizing EEG Signatures of Target Detection

Visual target detection is one of the most studied paradigms in human electrophysiology. Electroencephalo-graphic (EEG) correlates of target detection include the well-characterized N1, P2, and P300. In almost all cases the experimental paradigms used for studying visual target detection are extremely well-controlled – very simple stimuli are presented so as to minimize eye movements, and scenarios involve minimal active participation by the subject. However, to characterize these EEG correlates for real-world scenarios, where the target or the subject may be moving and the two may interact, a more flexible paradigm is required. The environment must be immersive and interactive, and the system must enable synchronization between events in the world, the behavior of the subject, and simultaneously recorded EEG signals. We have developed a hardware/software system that enables us to precisely control the appearance of objects in a 3D virtual environment, which subjects can navigate while the system tracks their eyes and records their EEG activity. We are using this environment to investigate a set of questions which focus on the relationship between the visibility, salience, and affect of the target; the agency and eye movements of the subject; and the resulting EEG signatures of detection. In this paper, we describe the design of our system and present some preliminary results regarding the EEG signatures of target detection.

Accepted 27 April 2011
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