Explainable Data Poison Attacks on Human Emotion Evaluation Systems Based on EEG Signals

Zhibo Zhang, Sani Umar, Ahmed Y.Al Hammadi, Sangyoung Yoon, Ernesto Damiani, Claudio Agostino Ardagna, Nicola Bena, Chan Yeob Yeun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The major aim of this paper is to explain the data poisoning attacks using label-flipping during the training stage of the electroencephalogram (EEG) signal-based human emotion evaluation systems deploying Machine Learning models from the attackers' perspective. Human emotion evaluation using EEG signals has consistently attracted a lot of research attention. The identification of human emotional states based on EEG signals is effective to detect potential internal threats caused by insider individuals. Nevertheless, EEG signal-based human emotion evaluation systems have shown several vulnerabilities to data poison attacks. Besides, due to the instability and complexity of the EEG signals, it is challenging to explain and analyze how data poison attacks influence the decision process of EEG signal-based human emotion evaluation systems. In this paper, from the attackers' side, data poison attacks occurring in the training phases of six different Machine Learning models including Random Forest, Adaptive Boosting (AdaBoost), Extra Trees, XGBoost, Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), and K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN) intrude on the EEG signal-based human emotion evaluation systems using these Machine Learning models. This seeks to reduce the performance of the aforementioned Machine Learning models with regard to the classification task of 4 different human emotions using EEG signals. The findings of the experiments demonstrate that the suggested data poison assaults are model-independently successful, although various models exhibit varying levels of resilience to the attacks. In addition, the data poison attacks on the EEG signal-based human emotion evaluation systems are explained with several Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) methods including Shapley Additive Explanation (SHAP) values, Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations (LIME), and Generated Decision Trees. And the codes of this paper are publicly available on GitHub.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)18134-18147
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2023


  • Cyber resilience
  • cyber security
  • data poisoning
  • EEG signals
  • explainable artificial intelligence
  • human emotion evaluation
  • label-flipping
  • machine learning


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