A brain-computer interface (BCI) can be used to accomplish a task without requiring motor output. Two major control strategies used by BCIs during task completion are process control and goal selection. In process control, the user exerts continuous control and independently executes the given task. In goal selection, the user communicates their goal to the BCI and then receives assistance executing the task. A previous study has shown that goal selection is more accurate and faster in use. An unanswered question is, which control strategy is easier to learn? This study directly compares goal selection and process control while learning to use a sensorimotor rhythm-based BCI. Twenty young healthy human subjects were randomly assigned either to a goal selection or a process control-based paradigm for eight sessions. At the end of the study, the best user from each paradigm completed two additional sessions using all paradigms randomly mixed. The results of this study were that goal selection required a shorter training period for increased speed, accuracy, and information transfer over process control. These results held for the best subjects as well as in the general subject population. The demonstrated characteristics of goal selection make it a promising option to increase the utility of BCIs intended for both disabled and able-bodied users.
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