HSE — Mapping the Brain's Potential
Can the brain be linked directly to the computer? What areas of the brain are involved in speech recognition? What impacts on decision-making and how to other people influence this process? Can you calculate people's inclination to take risks? Participants in the 'Cognitive Control, Communication and Perception: Psychological and Neurobiological Aspects' conference, which took place September 29-30, 2015 at the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE.
International experts including speech areas researcher Evelina Fedorenko (MIT, US), psycholinguistics specialist Andrey Myachnikov (Northumbria University, UK), and linguist Russell Tomlin (Oregon University, US) gave lectures in neurobiology.
‘We gathered together a unique group of international experts in neuro-economics and cognitive sciences, whose interests embrace all the key areas of psychophysiology, including neuro-modeling. This means we can carry out joint research taking international experience in applying the latest technologies into account,’ said Anna Shestakova, Director of the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE.
The center's leading experts talked about the results of recent research, experiments and their own developments, and also held lab tours.
‘Cutting edge research in our center is carried out at labs set up recently – behavioral, EEG and brain stimulation labs with unique technological solutions including 3-D navigation. Our equipment for studying brain response is be best of its kind in Eastern Europe,’ leading researcher Vasily Klucharev at the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE said.
Visitors to the center saw how you can prompt involuntary movement in your fingers by stimulating particular areas in the brain, learned what an 'exoskeleton' is and how it can help people compensate for disabilities they have. They also observed participants in an experiment move a cursor on-screen – without using their hands. Researchers explained that algorithms pick up on human impulses expressed through thought – that would otherwise move hands in this or that directions. This technology is used, for example, in the gaming industry.
Conference guests were able to take part in an attention test: sitting in front of a computer monitor with a built in infrared camera, they would watch a short video in which various different volley-ball team members passed the ball to each other. Their task was to count the number of times the ball was passed. The camera tracked their eye movements and establish where they were focused while watching the match. As it happened, most people who followed the instructions and tracked the players' movement ignore the less important figures and simply do not follow their movements. It was then replayed, and 'hot points' indicated what people had been looking at during the experiment. 'A similar approach is used, for example, in assessing advertisements, to help understand what consumers are focused on,' said Evgeny Blagoveshchensky Senior Research Fellow the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE.
The Center's experts explained the impact of stimulating various different parts of the brain and strengthening their operation in order to accelerate the learning process. 'Approaches such as magnetic stimulation are pain-free and can be used to solve a variety of complex issues, such as in rehabilitating people after a stroke,' Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE Maria Nazarova said.
People are welcome to participate in other experiments at the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at HSE, or visit the HSE School of Psychology laboratories, on Welcome Lab Day 2015 on October 17. To register for the event please visit the webpage (in Russian).
On 17th October the HSE School of Psychology is holding Welcome Lab Day as a continuation of the Nauka O+ festival. Head of School Vasily Klucharev talks to us about what will be on display, which areas of psychology are most popular today and whether it is possible to use brain stimulation to make people conform.
HSE Scholars Co-author International Encyclopaedia of the Brain Vasily Klucharev, Leading Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making, and Anna Shestakova, Director of the Centre, have become co-authors of a chapter in ‘Brain Mapping’, a three-volume encyclopaedic collection.
On March 25, Samuel McClure, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, will give a lecture called ‘Neuroeconomics: Cognitive and Neural Processes in Delay Discounting’ at HSE. Samuel McClure recently agreed to speak with the HSE news service about his research and what he aims to accomplish in terms of collaboration with specialists at HSE.
Will internet education replace traditional universities? Where are lectures harder to give – in the classroom or in front of the camera? Would George Clooney be convincing in the role of a real teacher? The Dean of the HSE’s Faculty of Psychology Vasily Klyucharev, who conducts a neuroeconomics course on Coursera, provides answers to these questions.
Vasily Klyucharev, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Psychology: ‘Our objective is to integrate our faculty into the European academic space’
Vasily Klyucharev is the new Dean of the HSE Faculty of Psychology. His professional interests lie in neuroeconomics - more specifically, in the study of social influence, of the ways our decisions can be manipulated, what mechanisms are at play, and which parts of our brain are involved when someone tries to manipulate us. The new Dean talked to our news service about the faculty's upcoming research projects and academic courses.