Prototyping a method for the assessment of real-time EEG sonifications

Steffert, Tony; Holland, Simon; Mulholland, Paul; Dalton, Sheep and Väljamäe, Aleksander (2015). Prototyping a method for the assessment of real-time EEG sonifications. In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Auditory Display (Vogt, Katharina; Andreopoulou, Areti and Goudarzi, Visda eds.), Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM), University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG), Austria pp. 217–224.



This paper presents a first step in the development of a methodology to compare the ability of different sonifications to convey the fine temporal detail of the Electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave signal in real time. In EEG neurofeedback a person‟s EEG activity is monitored and presented back to them, to help them to learn how to modify their brain activity. Learning theory suggests that the more rapidly and accurately the feedback follows behaviour the more efficient the learning will be. Therefore a critical issue is how to assess the ability of a sonification to convey rapid and temporally complex EEG data for neurofeedback.

To allow for replication, this study used sonifications of pre-recorded EEG data and asked participants to try and track aspects of the signal in real time using a mouse.

This study showed that, although imperfect, this approach is a practical way to compare the suitability of EEG sonifications for tracking detailed EEG signals in real time and that the combination of quantitative and qualitative data helped characterise the relative efficacy of different sonifications.

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