Boosting template-based SSVEP decoding by cross-domain transfer learning

Kuan Jung Chiang*, Chun-Shu Wei, Masaki Nakanishi, Tzyy Ping Jung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective. This study aims to establish a generalized transfer-learning framework for boosting the performance of steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)-based brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) by leveraging cross-domain data transferring. Approach. We enhanced the state-of-the-art template-based SSVEP decoding through incorporating a least-squares transformation (LST)-based transfer learning to leverage calibration data across multiple domains (sessions, subjects, and electroencephalogram montages). Main results. Study results verified the efficacy of LST in obviating the variability of SSVEPs when transferring existing data across domains. Furthermore, the LST-based method achieved significantly higher SSVEP-decoding accuracy than the standard task-related component analysis (TRCA)-based method and the non-LST naive transfer-learning method. Significance. This study demonstrated the capability of the LST-based transfer learning to leverage existing data across subjects and/or devices with an in-depth investigation of its rationale and behavior in various circumstances. The proposed framework significantly improved the SSVEP decoding accuracy over the standard TRCA approach when calibration data are limited. Its performance in calibration reduction could facilitate plug-and-play SSVEP-based BCIs and further practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number016002
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • brain-computer interface
  • EEG
  • transfer learning


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