Objective. Brain–computer interface (BCI) performance is sensitive to short-term changes in psychological states such as fatigue, frustration, and attention. This paper explores the design of a BCI that can adapt to these short-term changes. Approach. Eleven able-bodied individuals participated in a study during which they used a mental task-based EEG-BCI to play a simple maze navigation game while self-reporting their perceived levels of fatigue, frustration, and attention. In an offline analysis, a regression algorithm was trained to predict changes in these states, yielding Pearson correlation coefficients in excess of 0.45 between the self-reported and predicted states. Two means of fusing the resultant mental state predictions with mental task classification were investigated. First, single-trial mental state predictions were used to predict correct classification by the BCI during each trial. Second, an adaptive BCI was designed that retrained a new classifier for each testing sample using only those training samples for which predicted mental state was similar to that predicted for the current testing sample. Main results. Mental state-based prediction of BCI reliability exceeded chance levels. The adaptive BCI exhibited significant, but practically modest, increases in classification accuracy for five of 11 participants and no significant difference for the remaining six despite a smaller average training set size. Significance. Collectively, these findings indicate that adaptation to psychological state may allow the design of more accurate BCIs.

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