High-throughput image search via single-trial event detection in a rapid serial visual presentation task

We describe a method, using linear discrimination, for detecting single-trial EEG signatures of object recognition events in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task. We record EEG using a high spatial density array (87 electrodes) during the rapid presentation (50-200 msec per image) of natural images. Subjects were instructed to release a button when they recognized a target image (an image with a person/people). Trials consisted of 100 images each, with a 50% chance of a single target being in a trial. Subject EEG was analyzed on a single-trial basis with an optimal spatial linear discriminator learned at multiple time windows after the presentation of an image. Linear discrimination enables the estimation of a forward model and thus allows for an approximate localization of the discriminating activity. Results show multiple loci for discriminating activity (e.g. motor and visual). Using these detected EEG signatures, we show that in many cases we can detect targets more accurately than the overt response (button release) and that such signatures can be used to prioritize images for high-throughput search.

Accepted 20 March 2003
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