Using single-trial EEG to estimate the timing of target onset during rapid serial visual presentation

The timing of a behavioral response, such as a button press in reaction to a visual stimulus, is highly variable across trials. In this paper we describe a methodology for single-trial analysis of electroencephalography (EEG) which can be used to reduce the error in the estimation of the timing of the behavioral response and thus reduce the error in estimating the onset time of the stimulus. We consider a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm consisting of concatenated video clips and where subjects are instructed to respond when they see a predefined target. We show that a linear discriminator, with inputs distributed across sensors and time and chosen via an information theoretic feature selection criterion, can be used in conjunction with the response to yield a lower error estimate of the onset time of the target stimulus compared to the response time. We compare our results to response time and previous EEG approaches using fixed windows in time, showing that our method has the lowest estimation error. We discuss potential applications, specifically with respect to cortically-coupled computer vision based triage of large image databases

Accepted 30 August 2006
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