Psychology Department Needs

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Electroencephalogram (EEG) Signatures of Cognition and Synchronization

Hiroko Nakano, Ph. D. (Psychology) and Mari-Anne Rosario, Ph. D. (Physics)

Our research explores the neural response in four areas: language processing, music cognition, explicit and implicit learning, and connection between individuals.

For example:

  1. How taxing is it for our brain when we encounter language errors? Furthermore, how is this process different between monolinguals and bilinguals?
  2. How do our brains respond to familiar or preferred music, and what do these responses indicate about our perception of music?
  3. How and when will neural synchronization be apparent when stimuli are presented at the conscious or unconscious level? How does the synchronization represent the development of intuition or gut feelings?
  4. Is there a distinct signature in brain activity that occurs when two people are cooperating on mental or physical tasks?

Our experiments primarily involve electroencephalography (EEG), measurements of electrical voltages at different locations on the scalp. These voltages, and how they develop over time, can characterize cognitive activity. Sensation, perception, expectation or remembering, for example, have been shown to have distinct EEG signatures.

Over the past five years, we have involved five undergraduate students, presented six posters at international conferences, presented nine posters at regional conferences, published one article, and are in the process of writing five papers.

We look forward to continuing this work and would find it immensely helpful to have updated equipment. Current EEG technologies are moving towards wireless systems that allow for a larger variety of experimental situations. At present, our current system only has 14 electrodes, and those are not well placed around the scalp. Also, unfortunately, an older system (32 channel Neuroscan) recently became non-functional.