Inference from populations: going beyond models

Prog Brain Res. 2011:192:103-12. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53355-5.00007-5.


How are abstract signals, like intent, represented in neural populations? By creating a direct link between neural activity and behavior, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can help answer this question. Early instantiations of these devices sought mainly to mimic arm movements: by building models of arm tuning for the neurons, desired arm movements could be read out and used to control various prosthetic devices. However, as the functionality of these devices increases, a more general approach that relies less on endogenous control signals may be required. Here we review some of the current, model-based approaches for finding volitional control signals for spiking-based BCIs, and present some new approaches for finding control signals without resorting to parametric models of neural activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm / physiology
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Movement / physiology
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • User-Computer Interface*