Optimization of SSVEP brain responses with application to eight-command Brain-Computer Interface

Hovagim Bakardjian, Toshihisa Tanaka, Andrzej Cichocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


This study pursues the optimization of the brain responses to small reversing patterns in a Steady-State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEP) paradigm, which could be used to maximize the efficiency of applications such as Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI). We investigated the SSVEP frequency response for 32 frequencies (5-84 Hz), and the time dynamics of the brain response at 8, 14 and 28 Hz, to aid the definition of the optimal neurophysiological parameters and to outline the onset-delay and other limitations of SSVEP stimuli in applications such as our previously described four-command BCI system. Our results showed that the 5.6-15.3 Hz pattern reversal stimulation evoked the strongest responses, peaking at 12 Hz, and exhibiting weaker local maxima at 28 and 42 Hz. After stimulation onset, the long-term SSVEP response was highly non-stationary and the dynamics, including the first peak, was frequency-dependent. The evaluation of the performance of a frequency-optimized eight-command BCI system with dynamic neurofeedback showed a mean success rate of 98%, and a time delay of 3.4 s. Robust BCI performance was achieved by all subjects even when using numerous small patterns clustered very close to each other and moving rapidly in 2D space. These results emphasize the need for SSVEP applications to optimize not only the analysis algorithms but also the stimuli in order to maximize the brain responses they rely on.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • BCI
  • Brain frequency response
  • Brain response dynamics
  • Neurofeedback
  • Steady-State Visual Evoked Potentials


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