New Wearable Brain-Imaging Device Measures Human Brain Synchronization During Conversation

Posted: Feb 27 2017, 9:23am CST | by , Updated: Feb 27 2017, 10:02am CST, in News | Latest Science News

New Wearable Brain-Imaging Device Successfully Measures Human Brain Synchronization During Conversation
This is a cartoon image of brain 'coupling' during communication. Credit: Drexel University

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New device will detect our brains’ alignment during real life conversation

We often have several ideas in mind, but are unable to convey them to others. How can we know if people understand what we say while talking to them?

Researchers from Drexel University including biomedical engineers, in collaboration with Princeton University psychologists, are researching through a device to find how brains link during communication. It’s a wearable brain imaging device that can be used when humans interact with each other.

The device uses fNIRS, the functional near-infrared spectroscopy to measure the neural function during real life solutions and people can wear it as headbands.

The research study shows that fNIRS is successful in measuring the brain synchronization while communicating. The technology can measure anything. like communication between patients and doctors or how humans get TV news.

In social neuroscience, this is the first time that scientists will study multiple brains’ interaction.The device will help us see the efficiency of multiple brains during conversation that no artificial lab can do, said Hasan Ayaz, PhD, an associate research professor in Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, who also led the research team.

Some part of the study is taken from the past research from Uri Hasan, PhD, associate professor at Princeton University, who used fMRI to study brain function working under language production.

Hasan discovered that a listener’s brain mirrors speaker’s brain during real life communication. But, that method has some limitations needing the patient to lie down during fMRI, and you can’t study brains of different people talking to each other through this method.

Whereas, in fNIRS we can understand how our ideas are conveyed to others while talking. The device was tested on native English speakers and native Turkish speakers who told their stories in their own languages.

During the process, the brains of participants were scanned. The researchers found that both listeners’ and speakers’ brain interact with each other only when they understand.

The device would help in enhancing communication in different places, like classrooms, meetings, political events etc. through the study scientists found that fNIRS is better than fMIR in studying multiple brains at a time, said Banu Onaral, PhD, the H. H. Sun Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.

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