Using brain-computer interfaces and brain-state dependent stimulation as tools in cognitive neuroscience

Ole Jensen, Ali Bahramisharif, Robert Oostenveld, Stefan Klanke, Avgis Hadjipapas, Yuka O. Okazaki, Marcel A J van Gerven

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Large efforts are currently being made to develop and improve online analysis of brain activity which can be used, e.g., for brain-computer interfacing (BCI). A BCI allows a subject to control a device by willfully changing his/her own brain activity. BCI therefore holds the promise as a tool for aiding the disabled and for augmenting human performance. While technical developments obviously are important, we will here argue that new insight gained from cognitive neuroscience can be used to identify signatures of neural activation which reliably can be modulated by the subject at will. This review will focus mainly on oscillatory activity in the alpha band which is strongly modulated by changes in covert attention. Besides developing BCIs for their traditional purpose, they might also be used as a research tool for cognitive neuroscience. There is currently a strong interest in how brain-state fluctuations impact cognition. These state fluctuations are partly reflected by ongoing oscillatory activity. The functional role of the brain state can be investigated by introducing stimuli in real-time to subjects depending on the actual state of the brain. This principle of brain-state dependent stimulation may also be used as a practical tool for augmenting human behavior. In conclusion, new approaches based on online analysis of ongoing brain activity are currently in rapid development. These approaches are amongst others informed by new insight gained from electroencephalography/magnetoencephalography studies in cognitive neuroscience and hold the promise of providing new ways for investigating the brain at work.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 100
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Alpha
  • Attention
  • Electroencephalography
  • Gamma
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Man machine interface


Dive into the research topics of 'Using brain-computer interfaces and brain-state dependent stimulation as tools in cognitive neuroscience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this