Perceptual training of novel auditory categories using BCI
01 / 2009 - unknown
It is well known that learning a second language is difficult. One specific problem faced by foreign-language learners is the identification of novel phonemes in the second language which do not exist in the native repertoire. An equivalent problem of learning novel chord types and inversions exists in the musical domain. These novel auditory categories tend to be assimilated into categories which have previously been learned, and the differences between them neglected. Only after extensive training and exposure can the differences begin to be reliably discriminated. Prior research has shown that the ability to discriminate different auditory categories corresponds to specific measures of EEG activity, namely, mismatch negativity and P300 ERP components. The current project investigate whether the application of existing brain-computer interface techniques to the perceptual training of novel auditory categories leads to benefits for language learners and students of music. Target ERPs will be monitored during training sessions, and fed back in real-time to participants as a visual reinforcer. It is hypothesized that the addition of the biofeedback as a conditioning stimulus will speed learning and reinforce distinctions between similar auditory categories.