How we do it
The electroencephalogram (EEG) is recorded at the scalp surface and measures the electrical activity of the brain. Analyzing EEG allows us to investigate brain processes with a high temporal resolution. A high temporal resolution is necessary to look at evoked and induced oscillatory activity during different sensory-motor tasks employed in our lab. For more information about EEG, click here.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method to stimulate or inhibit neuronal activity. Short magnetic pulses travel through the scalp and act upon the electrical properties of the targeted tissue. TMS enables us to investigate the causal involvement of brain areas in sensorimotor processes.
In the empirical measurement of motion, small infra-red (IR) light emitting diodes (LED) are attached to the body and illuminated. The light impulses are recorded by means of a camera system, allowing us to characterize body movements in 3D space. The analysis of movement parameters, such as movement time, end point, maximal velocity, or the time/ spatial location of an in-flight directional change, is informative as to how the brain plans movements in a variety of experimental settings.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive imaging method to measure blood flow changes in the brain. Researchers assume that blood level oxygenation is a proxy for neuronal processing, allowing us to characterize which processes brain regions are involved in, their connectivity to other regions, and what kind of coding a region uses with high spatial resolution across the course of an experimental task.
Kinarm Endpoint Lab
Our latest lab addition is the Kinarm Endpoint Lab, a two-arm robot that allows displacing the hands of a participant, and to restrict active movements of the participant while measuring the forces the participant applies to overcome those movement restrictions. The setup allows very fine measurements of a person’s hand/arm motor output during the execution of cognitive tasks.