EEG Functional Connectivity Predicts Individual Behavioural Impairment during Mental Fatigue

Peng Qi, Hongying Hu, Li Zhu, Lingyun Gao, Jingjia Yuan, Nitish Thakor, Anastasios Bezerianos, Yu Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mental fatigue deteriorates ability to perform daily activities - known as time-on-task (TOT) effect and becomes a common complaint in contemporary society. However, an applicable technique for fatigue detection/prediction is hindered due to substantial inter-subject differences in behavioural impairment and brain activity. Here, we developed a fully cross-validated, data-driven analysis framework incorporating multivariate regression model to explore the feasibility of utilizing functional connectivity (FC) to predict the fatigue-related behavioural impairment at individual level. EEG was recorded from 40 healthy adults as they performed a 30-min high-demanding sustained attention task. FC were constructed in different frequency bands using three widely-adopted methods (including coherence, phase log index (PLI), and partial directed coherence (PDC)) and contrasted between the most vigilant and fatigued states. The differences of individual FC (diff (FC)) were considered as features; whereas the TOT slop across the course of task and the differences of reaction time ( \Delta RT) between the most vigilant and fatigued states were chosen to represent behavioural impairments. Behaviourally, we found substantial inter-subject differences of impairments. Furthermore, we achieved significantly high accuracies for individualized prediction of behavioural impairments using diff(PDC). The identified top diff(PDC) features contributing to the individualized predictions were found mainly in theta and alpha bands. Further interrogation of diff(PDC) features revealed distinct patterns between the TOT slop and \Delta RT prediction models, highlighting the complex neural mechanisms of mental fatigue. Overall, the current findings extended conventional brain-behavioural correlation analysis to individualized prediction of fatigue-related behavioural impairments, thereby moving a step forward towards development of applicable techniques for quantitative fatigue monitoring in real-world scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9133461
Pages (from-to)2080-2089
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • EEG
  • Individualized prediction
  • functional connectivity
  • machine learning
  • regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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