NeuroImaging Workshop on the Dynamic Social Brain

Preceding the Society for Neuroscience meeting
San Diego, California

November 10, 2016

Scott Makeig , Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computation, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

High-Resolution EEG Brain and Brain/Body Imaging: New Methods for Social Neuroscience Research

Non-invasive imaging of human brain function at the speed of thought, feeling, and action using high-density scalp EEG is now becoming a true functional brain imaging modality thanks to applications of mathematical approaches to separating scalp-recorded data into its effective cortical (brain) and non-brain ('artifact') sources. A parallel can be drawn the development of magnetic resonance (MR) and fMRI brain imaging, for which inverse method that transforms the raw recorded radio-frequency (sensor) data into brain source space (voxel) data is critical. In both modalities (EEG imaging and MRI/fMRI) the sensor data per se are best regarded as epiphenomena and the derived brain source activity data the biological phenomena of scientific interest. In MR/fMR imaging research this is now taken for granted, where as in the EEG field this point of view is still novel to many researchers. I will detail an approach to source-resolved EEG analysis based on application of independent component analysis (ICA) using tools freely available in the EEGLAB software environment ( As an example, I will discuss studies of cortical dynamics supporting imagined emotion and gestural communication of musical feeling.

Experiments in social neuroscience experiments using source-resolved EEG imaging have strong potential advantages. In particular, participants in social experiments may face each other and interact naturally. Simultaneously measuring their brain activity and their behavior using EEG, body motion capture, wearable eye tracking, audiovisual recording, etc., allows observation, for the first time, of brain dynamics that accompany and support social interactions. I have termed the simultaneous high-bandwidth recording of brain dynamics and behavior 'Mobile Brain/Body Imaging' (MoBI). At the Swartz Center, UCSD, we have developed a first MoBI laboratory and are making available software tools to record, store, review, and analyze multimodal multi-subject data. I will show a first application of the MoBI approach to the study of expressive movements and will discuss possibilities for a rich new range of new social neuroscience experiment designs made possible by the mobile brain/body recording and analysis approach.

                              Return to Current Abstracts

                                Back to Makeig Home Page