Brain Science Advances


steady-state visual evoked potential, background lumimance, visual stimulus, brain-computer interface, signal-to-noise ratio


Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)-based brain- computer interfaces (BCIs) have been widely studied. Considerable progress has been made in the aspects of stimulus coding, electroencephalogram processing, and recognition algorithms to enhance system performance. The properties of SSVEP have been demonstrated to be highly sensitive to stimulus luminance. However, thus far, there have been very few reports on the impact of background luminance on the system performance of SSVEP- based BCIs. This study investigated the impact of stimulus background luminance on SSVEPs. Specifically, this study compared two types of background luminance, i.e., (1) black luminance [red, green, blue (rgb): (0, 0, 0)] and (2) gray luminance [rgb: (128, 128, 128)], and determined their effect on the classification performance of SSVEPs at the stimulus frequencies of 9, 11, 13, and 15 Hz. The offline results from nine healthy subjects showed that compared with the gray background luminance, the black background luminance induced larger SSVEP amplitude and larger signal-to- noise ratio, resulting in a better classification accuracy. These results suggest that the background luminance of visual stimulus has a considerable effect on the SSVEP and therefore has a potential to improve the BCI performance.