Improving P300 spelling rate using language models and predictive spelling

William Speier, Corey Arnold, Nand Chandravadia, Dustin Roberts, Shrita Pendekanti, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The P300 speller brain-computer interface (BCI) provides a means of communication for those suffering from advanced neuromuscular diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recent literature has incorporated language-based modeling, which uses previously chosen characters and the structure of natural language to modify the interface and classifier. Two complementary methods of incorporating language models have previously been independently studied: predictive spelling uses language models to generate suggestions of complete words to allow for the selection of multiple characters simultaneously, and language-model-based classifiers have used prior characters to create a prior probability distribution over the characters based on how likely they are to follow. In this study, we propose a combined method which extends a language-based classifier to generate prior probabilities for both individual characters and complete words. In order to gage the efficiency of this new model, results across 12 healthy subjects were measured. Incorporating predictive spelling increased typing speed using the P300 speller, with an average increase of 15.5% in typing rate across subjects, demonstrating that language models can be effectively utilized to create full word suggestions for predictive spelling. When combining predictive spelling with language-model classification, typing speed is significantly improved, resulting in better typing performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalBrain-Computer Interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • P300 speller
  • electroencephalography
  • language models
  • predictive spelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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