Differences in Auditory and Visual Stimulation on Neural Activity Via EEG Archival Data

I am a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, and will be spending my summer at the Evanston campus of Northwestern conducting research on difference brain processes as they relate to different forms of stimuli. I am a Human Development & Psychological Services and Environmental Science double major, and my interests include sustainable energy, human development, and prison abolition.

Origins, History, and Use of Event-Related Potentials

For my experiment, event related potentials (a measured brain response from some form of stimuli or motor event) were to be  measured through means of electroencephalography (EEG) of patients as well as from patient data of epilepsy patients from the University of Chicago Medical Hospital. Brain activity would be recorded and bookmarked with different stimulus markers (speaking with doctors, friends, family, listening to online stimuli such as TVs or handhelds, etc). We were looking for differences in brain activity as patients interacted with online forms of stimuli in comparison to in real life ones. This meant having an in depth knowledge of cells, their excitatory stages, and potentials to understand what different signals would mean within EEG machinery and data.

Getting Started In Lab

Hi everyone – I’m approximately halfway through the research I’ve been conducting this summer; here are updates from the beginning of my time in the Grabowecky Lab!

I started lab early June; because this was my first time doing research in the specific field of neuro-psychology, I began by lengthening the original review of literature I wrote to apply for the summer URG grant, to ultimately understand the mechanisms and nuances of EEG machinery, data, inputs, and outputs.

In short, basic principals of multi sensory interactions and event related potentials (EVPs) were learned. The below conclusions were made, which subsequently guided my summer research question:

  • interactions are subject to spatial constraints – responses are greater when stimuli are in the same location across modalities
  • – interactions are subject to temporal constraints that means that responses are greater when stimuli occur in close temporal activity
  • – multi sensory interactions abide by the principle of inverse effectiveness such that response enhancement is greater when one modality provides little information alone.

First post!

Measures of electrical activity from the brain provide great insight into neural processes related to sensation and perception.  An important subset of this field of neuroscience seeks to understand how different brain processes respond to different stimuli. A frequent and ubiquitous current stimulus is the mobile phone (MP). Research in the Suzuki and Grabowecky lab in the last decade suggests pervasive influences of auditory-visual interactions on attention. This blog documents my research as I learn, analyze, and compare brain activity in response to visual and auditory stimuli from the patient’s own MP and from other sources in the room (e.g., television or computer).