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A2: Voluntary control of neuronal correlations for Brain-Machine-Interfaces (BMIs)

Carsten MehringJ, Christoph BraunS, Hubert PreisslS, Andreas-Schulze-BonhageI, Ad AertsenA, Alireza GharabaghiT

J = Animal Physiol. & Neurobiol, Inst. of Biol.I
S = Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen
I = Epilepsy Centre, University Medical Center
= Neurobiology and Biophysics
T = Neurosurgery, University Clinics Tübingen

Scientific background

In general, BMIs extract signals from topographic patterns of brain activity or from firing rates of multiple single neurons to control external devices. Alternatively, or in addition, one might use higher-order aspects of neuronal activity, such as the coherence among neuronal populations. Although it is often assumed that coherent brain activity reflects communication and information processing in cerebral networks, only few studies present direct evidence for extracting movement information from coherence. Presently, it is unknown which behavioral and neuronal effects can be induced by the learning of coherence regulation. The Freiburg and Tübingen groups participating in this project have extensive knowledge in the analysis of neuronal correlations, BMI research and neuronal signal analysis.


The aim of the project is threefold: (I) to devise strategies by which subjects can learn to voluntarily control neuronal correlations, (II) to study the usage of neuronal correlation as an alternative and/or additional control for invasive and non-invasive BMI approaches, and (III) to characterize behavioral and neuronal changes induced by learning the voluntary regulation of coherent brain activity.

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