By Daniel Teo
CNM graduate students from the research methods class NM6102 visited the Social and Cognitive Lab on March 21, 2013. The trip was organised by A/P Maria Kozhevnikov, one of the teachers of the class and director of the lab.
The students were at the lab to get a first-hand experience with advanced neuroimaging equipment, specifically electroencephalography (EEG), which measures the electrical activity of the brain.
Masters student Prashanth Thattai Ravikumar volunteered to be wired up to the machine. A “hairnet” comprising a dense network of electrodes was first soaked in a solution of baby shampoo and potassium chloride. The solution improved the connection between the electrodes and scalp for more precise measurements.
The sopping wet hairnet was then carefully positioned over Prashanth’s scalp. “I feel like a knight!” Prashanth said about the headpiece which enveloped most of his head.
Psychology graduate student Obana Takashi who was in-charge of the EEG, also asked Prashanth to perform a series of tasks like blinking his eyes and clenching his mouth. The CNM students watched in amazement as the readings jumped at each movement that Prashanth made while out of sight in the neighbouring room.
For the budding scholars, the lab visit and EEG demonstration, while a welcome change to the typical 3-hour seminar, also inspired them to think of the many ways neuroimaging techniques could be incorporated into future communication research.