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Brain-behavior forecasting: The causal determinants of spontaneous self-initiated action in the study of volition and the development of asynchronous brain-computer interfaces.

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "ACTINIT" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RUE DE TOLBIAC 101
city: PARIS
postcode: 75654

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 1˙338˙130 €
 EC max contribution 1˙338˙130 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-10-01   to  2020-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

'How are actions initiated by the human brain when there is no external sensory cue or other immediate imperative? How do subtle ongoing interactions within the brain and between the brain, body, and sensory context influence the spontaneous initiation of action? How should we approach the problem of trying to identify the neural events that cause spontaneous voluntary action? Much is understood about how the brain decides between competing alternatives, leading to different behavioral responses. But far less is known about how the brain decides 'when' to perform an action, or 'whether' to perform an action in the first place, especially in a context where there is no sensory cue to act such as during foraging. This project seeks to open a new chapter in the study of spontaneous voluntary action building on a novel hypothesis recently introduced by the applicant (Schurger et al, PNAS 2012) concerning the role of ongoing neural activity in action initiation. We introduce brain-behavior forecasting, the converse of movement-locked averaging, as an approach to identifying the neurodynamic states that commit the motor system to performing an action 'now', and will apply it in the context of information foraging. Spontaneous action remains a profound mystery in the brain basis of behavior, in humans and other animals, and is also central to the problem of asynchronous intention-detection in brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). A BCI must not only interpret what the user intends, but also must detect 'when' the user intends to act, and not respond otherwise. This remains the biggest challenge in the development of high-performance BCIs, whether invasive or non-invasive. This project will take a systematic and collaborative approach to the study of spontaneous self-initiated action, incorporating computational modeling, neuroimaging, and machine learning techniques towards a deeper understanding of voluntary behavior and the robust asynchronous detection of decisions-to-act.'


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Aaron Schurger, Steven Gale, Olivia Gozel, Olaf Blanke
Performance monitoring for brain-computer-interface actions
published pages: 44-50, ISSN: 0278-2626, DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2016.09.009
Brain and Cognition 111 2020-01-24
2017 Itzhak Fried, Patrick Haggard, Biyu J. He, Aaron Schurger
Volition and Action in the Human Brain: Processes, Pathologies, and Reasons
published pages: 10842-10847, ISSN: 0270-6474, DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.2584-17.2017
The Journal of Neuroscience 37/45 2020-01-24
2018 Nima Khalighinejad, Aaron Schurger, Andrea Desantis, Leor Zmigrod, Patrick Haggard
Precursor processes of human self-initiated action
published pages: 35-47, ISSN: 1053-8119, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.09.057
NeuroImage 165 2020-01-24
2016 Sebo Uithol, Aaron Schurger
Reckoning the moment of reckoning in spontaneous voluntary movement
published pages: 817-819, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1523226113
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113/4 2020-01-24
2017 Aaron Schurger, Nathan Faivre, Leila Cammoun, Bianca Trovó, Olaf Blanke
Entrainment of Voluntary Movement to Undetected Auditory Regularities
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15126-w
Scientific Reports 7/1 2020-01-24
2016 Aaron Schurger, Myrto Mylopoulos, David Rosenthal
Neural Antecedents of Spontaneous Voluntary Movement: A New Perspective
published pages: 77-79, ISSN: 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.11.003
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20/2 2020-01-24
2018 Aaron Schurger
Specific Relationship between the Shape of the Readiness Potential, Subjective Decision Time, and Waiting Time Predicted by an Accumulator Model with Temporally Autocorrelated Input Noise
published pages: ENEURO.0302-17.2, ISSN: 2373-2822, DOI: 10.1523/eneuro.0302-17.2018
eneuro 2020-01-24

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