Research Article Open Access

Comparison of Pre-Processing and Classification Techniques for Single-Trial and Multi-Trial P300-Based Brain Computer Interfaces

Chanan S. Syan1 and Randy E.S. Harnarinesingh1
  • 1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Thailand


The P300 component of Event Related Brain Potentials (ERP) is commonly used in Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) to translate the intentions of an individual into commands for external devices. The P300 response, however, resides in a signal environment of high background noise. Consequently, the main problem in developing a P300-based BCI lies in identifying the P300 response in the presence of this noise. Traditionally, attenuating the background activity of P300 data is done by averaging multiple trials of recorded signals. This method, though effective, suffers two drawbacks. First, collecting multiple trials of data is time consuming and delays the BCI response. Second, latency distortions may appear in the averaged result due to variable time-locking of the P300 in the individual trials. Problem statement: The use of single-trial P300 data overcomes both these shortcomings. However, single-trial data must be properly denoised to allow for reliable BCI operation. Single-trial P300-based BCIs have been implemented using a variety of signal processing techniques and classification methodologies. However, comparing the accuracies of these systems to other multi-trial systems is likely to include the comparison of more than just the trial format (single-trial/multi-trial) as the data quality and recording circumstances are likely to be dissimilar. Approach: This issue was directly addressed by comparing the performance comparison of three different preprocessing agents and three classification methodologies on the same data set over both the single-trial and multi-trial settings. The P300 data set of BCI Competition II was used to facilitate this comparison. Results: The LDA classifier exhibited the best performance in classifying unseen P300 spatiotemporal features in both the single-trial (74.19%) and multi-trial format (100%). It is also very efficient in terms of computational and memory requirements. Conclusion: This study can serve as a general guide for practitioners developing single-trial and multi-trial P300-based BCI systems, particularly for selecting appropriate pre-processing agents and classification methodologies for inclusion. The possibilities for future study include the investigation of double-trial and triple-trial P300 system based on the LDA classifier. The time savings of such approaches will still be significant. It is very likely that such systems would benefit from accuracies higher than the one obtained in this study for single-trial LDA (74.19%).

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 7 No. 9, 2010, 1219-1225


Submitted On: 20 May 2010 Published On: 30 September 2010

How to Cite: Syan, C. S. & Harnarinesingh, R. E. (2010). Comparison of Pre-Processing and Classification Techniques for Single-Trial and Multi-Trial P300-Based Brain Computer Interfaces. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 7(9), 1219-1225.

  • 18 Citations



  • Electroencephalography
  • P300
  • principal component analysis
  • genetic algorithm
  • linear discriminant analysis