EEG Classification with a Sequential Decision-Making Method in Motor Imagery BCI

Rong Liu, Yongxuan Wang, Geoffrey I. Newman, Nitish V. Thakor, Sarah Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


To develop subject-specific classifier to recognize mental states fast and reliably is an important issue in brain-computer interfaces (BCI), particularly in practical real-time applications such as wheelchair or neuroprosthetic control. In this paper, a sequential decision-making strategy is explored in conjunction with an optimal wavelet analysis for EEG classification. The subject-specific wavelet parameters based on a grid-search method were first developed to determine evidence accumulative curve for the sequential classifier. Then we proposed a new method to set the two constrained thresholds in the sequential probability ratio test (SPRT) based on the cumulative curve and a desired expected stopping time. As a result, it balanced the decision time of each class, and we term it balanced threshold SPRT (BTSPRT). The properties of the method were illustrated on 14 subjects' recordings from offline and online tests. Results showed the average maximum accuracy of the proposed method to be 83.4% and the average decision time of 2.77s, when compared with 79.2% accuracy and a decision time of 3.01s for the sequential Bayesian (SB) method. The BTSPRT method not only improves the classification accuracy and decision speed comparing with the other nonsequential or SB methods, but also provides an explicit relationship between stopping time, thresholds and error, which is important for balancing the speed-accuracy tradeoff. These results suggest that BTSPRT would be useful in explicitly adjusting the tradeoff between rapid decision-making and error-free device control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1750046
JournalInternational journal of neural systems
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Brain-computer interface (BCI)
  • classification
  • decision-making
  • motor imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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