Theoretical Perspective on an Ideomotor Brain-Computer Interface: Toward a Naturalistic and Non-invasive Brain-Computer Interface Paradigm Based on Action-Effect Representation

Front Hum Neurosci. 2021 Oct 28;15:732764. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.732764. eCollection 2021.


Recent years have been marked by the fulgurant expansion of non-invasive Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) devices and applications in various contexts (medical, industrial etc.). This technology allows agents "to directly act with thoughts," bypassing the peripheral motor system. Interestingly, it is worth noting that typical non-invasive BCI paradigms remain distant from neuroscientific models of human voluntary action. Notably, bidirectional links between action and perception are constantly ignored in BCI experiments. In the current perspective article, we proposed an innovative BCI paradigm that is directly inspired by the ideomotor principle, which postulates that voluntary actions are driven by the anticipated representation of forthcoming perceptual effects. We believe that (1) adapting BCI paradigms could allow simple action-effect bindings and consequently action-effect predictions and (2) using neural underpinnings of those action-effect predictions as features of interest in AI methods, could lead to more accurate and naturalistic BCI-mediated actions.

Keywords: action-effect prediction; human voluntary action; ideomotor; intention decoding; non-invasive brain-computer interface.