Blaise O'Mara

2022 McNair Scholar, Blaise O'Mara

University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2022
Major: Electrical Engineering
Mentors: Dr. Ronald Croce and Dr. Wayne Smith
Research Title: EEG-based Spanish Language Proficiency Classification: A Database for ACTFL Guidelines

An EEG-based Spanish language (SL) proficiency study will be performed to (1) investigate the neural efficiency hypothesis and (2) create an EEG Database for Language Proficiency Classification (DLPC). Brain activity defined by alpha (8-13 Hz), beta (13-30 Hz), and gamma (30-100 Hz) frequency ERD and coherence between three groups of varying SL proficiencies will be examined. The pool of participants will be comprised of 24-36 people, which will be categorized into three groups of 8-12 persons. These three groups will be categorized by Spanish proficiency according to ACTFL Listening Guidelines: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced and above. Each group will consist of sequential SL learners at the university level. Using the BrainVision Analyzer, the EEG data of participants will be collected during exposure to audio stimuli. There will be three Spanish-speaking audio stimuli, in which each recording will be categorized as Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced and above by ACTL Listening Guidelines. By applying the neural efficiency hypothesis to the analysis of the frequency bands, a biophysiological metric may be produced for classifying language proficiency. This metric would offer an alternative to a conventional paper test, and it may have profound implications in future machine learning applications.

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