Decoding repetitive finger movements with brain activity acquired via non-invasive electroencephalography

Andrew Y. Paek, Harshavardhan A. Agashe, José L. Contreras-Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We investigated how well repetitive finger tapping movements can be decoded from scalp electroencephalography (EEG) signals. A linear decoder with memory was used to infer continuous index finger angular velocities from the low-pass filtered fluctuations of the amplitude of a plurality of EEG signals distributed across the scalp. To evaluate the accuracy of the decoder, the Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) between the observed and predicted trajectories was calculated in a 10-fold cross-validation scheme. We also assessed attempts to decode finger kinematics from EEG data that was cleaned with independent component analysis (ICA), EEG data from peripheral sensors, and EEG data from rest periods. A genetic algorithm (GA) was used to select combinations of EEG channels that maximized decoding accuracies. Our results (lower quartile r = 0.18, median r = 0.36, upper quartile r = 0.50) show that delta-band EEG signals contain useful information that can be used to infer finger kinematics. Further, the highest decoding accuracies were characterized by highly correlated delta band EEG activity mostly localized to the contralateral central areas of the scalp. Spectral analysis of EEG also showed bilateral alpha band (8-13 Hz) event related desynchronizations (ERDs) and contralateral beta band (20-30 Hz) event related synchronizations (ERSs) localized over central scalp areas. Overall, this study demonstrates the feasibility of decoding finger kinematics from scalp EEG signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalFrontiers in Neuroengineering
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 13 2014


  • Decoding
  • EEG
  • Electroencephalography
  • Finger
  • Hand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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