Using ERPs for assessing the (sub)conscious perception of noise
Anne K. Porbadnigk, Jan-N. Antons, Benjamin Blankertz, Matthias S. Treder, Robert Schleicher, Sebastian Moeller and Gabriel Curio
In: 32nd Annual Int'l Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 31 Aug - 4 Sept 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In this paper, we investigate the use of event-related potentials (ERPs) as a quantitative measure for quality assessment of disturbed audio signals. For this purpose, we ran an EEG study (N=11) using an oddball paradigm, during which subjects were presented with the phoneme /a/, superimposed with varying degrees of signal-correlated noise. Based on this data set, we address the question to which degree the degradation of the auditory stimuli is reflected on a neural level, even if the disturbance is below the threshold of conscious perception. For those stimuli that are consciously recognized as being disturbed, we suggest the use of the amplitude and latency of the P300 component for assessing the level of disturbance. For disturbed stimuli for which the noise is not perceived consciously, we show for two subjects that a classifier based on shrinkage LDA can be applied successfully to single out stimuli, for which the noise was presumably processed subconsciously.