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Neuroscience 2.0: Taking the lab to the people by gathering collective EEG brain data



Wear­able for the mind’ launch­es new era of brain research (Elec­tron­ic Prod­ucts & Tech­nol­o­gy):

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists in Toron­to have shown that crowd­sourc­ing brain research to hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants in a short peri­od of time could be a new fron­tier in neu­ro­science and lead to new insights about the brain

Dr. Natasha Kovace­vic of Bay­crest Health Sci­ences’ Rot­man Research Insti­tute is the lead author of a sci­en­tif­ic paper on the crowd­sourc­ing experiment…Festival-goers wore the Muse head­band and par­tic­i­pat­ed in a brief col­lec­tive neu­ro­feed­back expe­ri­ence in groups of 20 inside a 60-foot geo­des­ic dome. A total of 523 adults (209 males, 314 females), rang­ing in age from 18 to 89, con­tributed their EEG brain data for the study. The par­tic­i­pants played a col­lec­tive neu­ro­feed­back game where they were required to manip­u­late their men­tal states of relax­ation and con­cen­tra­tion. The neu­ro­feed­back train­ing last­ed 6.5 min­utes, which is much short­er than typ­i­cal neu­ro­feed­back train­ing exper­i­ments. The group’s col­lec­tive EEG sig­nals were used to con­trol light­ing and imagery inside the exhib­it.

What we’ve done is tak­en the lab to the pub­lic,” said Dr. Kovace­vic. “We col­lab­o­rat­ed with mul­ti-media artists, made this exper­i­ment incred­i­bly engag­ing, attract­ed high­ly moti­vat­ed sub­jects which is not easy to do in the tra­di­tion­al lab set­ting, and col­lect­ed use­ful sci­en­tif­ic data from their expe­ri­ence.”

Study: My Vir­tu­al Dream: Col­lec­tive Neu­ro­feed­back in an Immer­sive Art Envi­ron­ment (PLOS ONE)

  • Abstract: While human brains are spe­cial­ized for com­plex and vari­able real world tasks, most neu­ro­science stud­ies reduce envi­ron­men­tal com­plex­i­ty, which lim­its the range of behav­iours that can be explored. Moti­vat­ed to over­come this lim­i­ta­tion, we con­duct­ed a large-scale exper­i­ment with elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy (EEG) based brain-com­put­er inter­face (BCI) tech­nol­o­gy as part of an immer­sive mul­ti-media sci­ence-art instal­la­tion. Data from 523 par­tic­i­pants were col­lect­ed in a sin­gle night. The explorato­ry exper­i­ment was designed as a col­lec­tive com­put­er game where play­ers manip­u­lat­ed men­tal states of relax­ation and con­cen­tra­tion with neu­ro­feed­back tar­get­ing mod­u­la­tion of rel­a­tive spec­tral pow­er in alpha and beta fre­quen­cy ranges. Besides val­i­dat­ing robust time-of-night effects, gen­der dif­fer­ences and dis­tinct spec­tral pow­er pat­terns for the two men­tal states, our results also show dif­fer­ences in neu­ro­feed­back learn­ing out­come. The unusu­al­ly large sam­ple size allowed us to detect unprece­dent­ed speed of learn­ing changes in the pow­er spec­trum (~ 1 min). More­over, we found that par­tic­i­pants’ base­line brain activ­i­ty pre­dict­ed sub­se­quent neu­ro­feed­back beta train­ing, indi­cat­ing state-depen­dent learn­ing. Besides reveal­ing these train­ing effects, which are rel­e­vant for BCI appli­ca­tions, our results val­i­date a nov­el plat­form engag­ing art and sci­ence and fos­ter­ing the under­stand­ing of brains under nat­ur­al con­di­tions.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Technology

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