The main objective of this paper is to use deep neural networks to decode the electroencephalography (EEG) signals evoked when individuals perceive four types of motion stimuli (contraction, expansion, rotation, and translation). Methods for single-trial and multi-trial EEG classification are both investigated in this study. Attention mechanisms and a variant of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) are incorporated as the decoding model. Attention mechanisms emphasize task-related responses and reduce redundant information of EEG, whereas RNN learns feature representations for classification from the processed EEG data. To promote generalization of the decoding model, a novel online data augmentation method that randomly averages EEG sequences to generate artificial signals is proposed for single-trial EEG. For our dataset, the data augmentation method improves the accuracy of our model (based on RNN) and two benchmark models (based on convolutional neural networks) by 5.60%, 3.92%, and 3.02%, respectively. The attention-based RNN reaches mean accuracies of 67.18% for single-trial EEG decoding with data augmentation. When performing multi-trial EEG classification, the amount of training data decreases linearly after averaging, which may result in poor generalization. To address this deficiency, we devised three schemes to randomly combine data for network training. Accordingly, the results indicate that the proposed strategies effectively prevent overfitting and improve the correct classification rate compared with averaging EEG fixedly (by up to 19.20%). The highest accuracy of the three strategies for multi-trial EEG classification achieves 82.92%. The decoding performance for the methods proposed in this work indicates they have application potential in the brain–computer interface (BCI) system based on visual motion perception.
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