Influence of P300 latency jitter on event related potential-based brain-computer interface performance

P. Aricò, F. Aloise, F. Schettini, S. Salinari, D. Mattia, F. Cincotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Several ERP-based brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that can be controlled even without eye movements (covert attention) have been recently proposed. However, when compared to similar systems based on overt attention, they displayed significantly lower accuracy. In the current interpretation, this is ascribed to the absence of the contribution of short-latency visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in the tasks performed in the covert attention modality. This study aims to investigate if this decrement (i) is fully explained by the lack of VEP contribution to the classification accuracy; (ii) correlates with lower temporal stability of the single-trial P300 potentials elicited in the covert attention modality. Approach. We evaluated the latency jitter of P300 evoked potentials in three BCI interfaces exploiting either overt or covert attention modalities in 20 healthy subjects. The effect of attention modality on the P300 jitter, and the relative contribution of VEPs and P300 jitter to the classification accuracy have been analyzed. Main results. The P300 jitter is higher when the BCI is controlled in covert attention. Classification accuracy negatively correlates with jitter. Even disregarding short-latency VEPs, overt-attention BCI yields better accuracy than covert. When the latency jitter is compensated offline, the difference between accuracies is not significant. Significance. The lower temporal stability of the P300 evoked potential generated during the tasks performed in covert attention modality should be regarded as the main contributing explanation of lower accuracy of covert-attention ERP-based BCIs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035008
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Brain-computer interface
  • Covert attention
  • P300 latency jitter
  • Single epoch
  • Wavelet analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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