Exploring the Cortical Dynamics of Learning by Leveraging BCI Paradigms
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)—systems that can record neural activity and translate them into commands for computer systems—are sufficiently advanced to allow users to volitionally guide them through simple tasks. Contemporary BCI research focuses on squeezing additional functionality out of standardized paradigms, be it achieving more bits per second, increased degrees of freedom, or increasing accuracy. While these studies have shown marginal advancements in recent years, our lack of understanding concerning the underlying neurophysiology continues to be the limiting factor in BCI development. In this chapter, we propose turning the way research is done on BCI systems on its head; instead of using our understanding of neural signals to incrementally advance the state of brain-machine interfaces, we apply a BCI system as a form of experimental control to study changes in neural activity. By using current BCI systems as a tool for neuroscientific study, we can probe the underlying neuroanatomy in novel, behaviorally controlled ways.
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