Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical & Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Dean Krusienski

Committee Member

Christian Zemlin

Committee Member

Anastasia Raymer

Committee Member

Jiang Li


Millions of people around the world suffer from severe neuromuscular disorders such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and others. Many of these individuals cannot perform daily tasks without assistance and depend on caregivers, which adversely impacts their quality of life. A Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is technology that aims to give these people the ability to interact with their environment and communicate with the outside world. Many recent studies have attempted to decode spoken and imagined speech directly from brain signals toward the development of a natural-speech BCI. However, the current progress has not reached practical application. An approach to improve the performance of this technology is to better understand the underlying speech processes in the brain for further optimization of existing models. In order to extend research in this direction, this thesis aims to characterize and decode the auditory and articulatory features from the motor cortex using the electrocorticogram (ECoG). Consonants were chosen as auditory representations, and both places of articulation and manners of articulation were chosen as articulatory representations. The auditory and articulatory representations were decoded at different time lags with respect to the speech onset to determine optimal temporal decoding parameters. In addition, this work explores the role of the temporal lobe during speech production directly from ECoG signals. A novel decoding model using temporal lobe activity was developed to predict a spectral representation of the speech envelope during speech production. This new knowledge may be used to enhance existing speech-based BCI systems, which will offer a more natural communication modality. In addition, the work contributes to the field of speech neurophysiology by providing a better understanding of speech processes in the brain.