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Published May 8, 2019 | Supplemental Material + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Intrinsic Variable Learning for Brain-Machine Interface Control by Human Anterior Intraparietal Cortex


Although animal studies provided significant insights in understanding the neural basis of learning and adaptation, they often cannot dissociate between different learning mechanisms due to the lack of verbal communication. To overcome this limitation, we examined the mechanisms of learning and its limits in a human intracortical brain-machine interface (BMI) paradigm. A tetraplegic participant controlled a 2D computer cursor by modulating single-neuron activity in the anterior intraparietal area (AIP). By perturbing the neuron-to-movement mapping, the participant learned to modulate the activity of the recorded neurons to solve the perturbations by adopting a target re-aiming strategy. However, when no cognitive strategies were adequate to produce correct responses, AIP failed to adapt to perturbations. These findings suggest that learning is constrained by the pre-existing neuronal structure, although it is possible that AIP needs more training time to learn to generate novel activity patterns when cognitive re-adaptation fails to solve the perturbations.

Additional Information

© 2019 Elsevier. Received 17 May 2018, Revised 5 November 2018, Accepted 6 February 2019, Available online 7 March 2019. Data and Software Availability: Data and MATLAB analysis scripts available upon request from Sofia Sakellaridi (sofia@caltech.edu). Additional Resources: This study was conducted as part of NIH clinical trial NCT01958086. This work was supported by the National Institute of Health (5R01EY01554512), the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center at Caltech, the Boswell Foundation, and the Swartz Foundation. The authors would also like to thank subject N.S. for participating in the studies and Viktor Scherbatyuk for technical assistance. Author Contributions: S.S., V.N.C., T.A., and R.A.A. designed the study. S.S., V.N.C., and T.A. developed the experimental tasks. S.S. and V.N.C. collected the data. S.S., V.N.C., and T.A. analyzed the results. S.S., V.N.C., T.A., and R.A.A. interpreted results and wrote the paper. E.R.R. provided experimental facilities, administrative assistance, and coordination with Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare. K.W.P. provided administrative assistance. D.O. provided onsite assistance during experimental sessions. N.P. performed the surgery implanting the recording arrays in subject N.S. The authors declare no competing interests.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms-1523068.pdf

Supplemental Material - 1-s2.0-S0896627319301217-mmc1.pdf


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