Brain-computer communication: Unlocking the locked in

Andrea Kübler, Boris Kotchoubey, Jochen Kaiser, Niels Birbaumer, Jonathan R. Wolpaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increasing efficiency of life-support systems and better intensive care, more patients survive severe injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Many of these patients experience locked-in syndrome: The active mind is locked in a paralyzed body. Consequently, communication is extremely restricted or impossible. A muscle-independent communication channel overcomes this problem and is realized through a brain-computer interface, a direct connection between brain and computer. The number of technically elaborated brain-computer interfaces is in contrast with the number of systems used in the daily life of locked-in patients. It is hypothesized that a profound knowledge and consideration of psychological principles are necessary to make brain-computer interfaces feasible for locked-in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-375
Number of pages18
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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