Real-Time Electroencephalogram Sonification for Neurofeedback

Tony Steffert
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the measurement via the scalp of the electrical activity of the brain. The established therapeutic intervention of neurofeedback involves presenting people with their own EEG in real-time to enable them to modify their EEG for purposes of improving performance or health. The aim of this research is to develop and validate real-time sonifications of EEG for use in neurofeedback and methods for assessing such sonifications. Neurofeedback generally uses a visual
more » ... y uses a visual display. Where auditory feedback is used, it is mostly limited to pre-recorded sounds triggered by the EEG activity crossing a threshold. However, EEG generates time-series data with meaningful detail at fine temporal resolution and with complex temporal dynamics. Human hearing has a much higher temporal resolution than human vision, and auditory displays do not require people to focus on a screen with their eyes open for extended periods of time – e.g. if they are engaged in some other task. Sonification of EEG could allow more rapid, contingent, salient and temporally detailed feedback. This could improve the efficiency of neurofeedback training and reduce the number and duration of sessions for successful neurofeedback. The same two deliberately simple sonification techniques were used in all three experiments of this research: Amplitude Modulation (AM) sonification, which maps the fluctuations in the power of the EEG to the volume of a pure tone; and Frequency Modulation (FM) sonification, which uses the changes in the EEG power to modify the frequency. Measures included, a listening task, NASA task load index; a measure of how much work it was to do the task, Pre & post measures of mood, and EEG. The first experiment used pre-recorded single channel EEG and participants were asked to listen to the sound of the sonified EEG and try and track the activity that they could hear by moving a slider on a computer screen using a computer mouse. This provided a quantitative assessment of how well people could perceive the soni [...]
doi:10.21954/ fatcat:5r6ckxgt7vh3fezmwbv3kyax3y