Prof. Ryuta Kawashima, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Smart Ageing International Research Center, IDAC, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Real time monitoring of other’s state of mind during communication
We have recently developed an Ultra-small Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRs) system, which has only one channel, but can measure brain activities of more than 20 people simultaneously. We measured activities of the dorso-medial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), which plays a key role in higher communicative functions, by this system, and found brain activities were synchronized among people when they had established face-to-face communication. We, then, transferred regional cerebral blood flow data from the DMPFC obtained by this NIRs system into music by an original algorism in real time, and asked subjects to listen to “their live music from their communicative brain” while making conversation among them. We found quality and quantity of their communicative activities were improved after real time feedback of their brain activities by music. We believe our system can be a “six sense” of humans to achieve better communication. I will discuss possible future applications of this kind of real time monitoring of brain activities in psychological and social technology researches in my Keynote lecture.
Prof. Kenji Doya, Ph.D.
Neural Computation Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Toward the neurophysiology of mental simulation
Mental simulation is a critical brain function that allows humans and some animals to perform model-based inference, planning, and decision making. While being a powerful vehicle of intelligence, malfunctions of mental simulation can result in psychiatric disorders like delusion and obsession. Thus it is highly important to discover the neurobiological underpinnings of mental simulation in order to understand the origins of human intelligence and the causes of psychiatric disorders. This lecture reports our current understanding of what brain structures are involved in mental simulation, studied by functional MRI experiments, and what neural circuit mechanism realizes mental simulation, attacked by optical neural recording and Bayesian models of the cerebral cortex.
Prof. Roberto D. Pascual-Marqui, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry, Shiga University of Medical Science, Japan
The KEY Institute for Brain-Mind Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kansai Medical University, Japan
Advances in EEG methods applied to intra-cortical connectivity inference and to functional imaging: Examples in psychiatry research
High time resolution multichannel EEG recordings are widely being employed for the computation of the time-varying cortical distribution of electric neuronal activity. Exact low resolution electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA) is one method that provides time series of electric neuronal activity at over 6000 cortical voxels. This information can in turn be used for the localization of functional activation, and for the study of functional connectivity. Several recent developments in improved measures of physiological connectivity include: (1) lagged coherence and phase synchronization; (2) whole cortex effective connectivity based the partial connectivity field; (3) causally linked network estimation in terms of senders, hubs, and receivers; and (4) frequency domain intra-cortical information flow. These methods were applied to assess the effect of electroconvulsive therapy and psychotropic drugs on brain function in patients suffering depression. A general observation was that concurrent with symptom improvement, the treatment did not immediately tend to normalize activity distribution and flow. The result seems to support the hypothesis that symptom improvement due to treatment does not follow a direct path towards “normal” function, but rather leads to a different type of “non-normal” state.
Prof. Carles Escera, Ph.D.
Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior (IR3C), and Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Spain
Tagging the acoustic world: regularity encoding from brainstem to cerebral cortex
In this talk, I will discuss recent evidence obtained in our laboratory with the complex Auditory Brainstem Response (cABR), the Middle Latency Response (MLR), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) demonstrating that human auditory deviance detection based on regularity encoding occurs at latencies and in neural networks comparable to those revealed in animal studies of single-neuron activity. Our results demonstrate that the encoding of simple acoustic-feature regularities and detection of corresponding deviance, such as an infrequent change in frequency or location, occur in the latency range of the MLR, in separate auditory cortical regions from those generating the mismatch negativity (MMN) long-latency evoked potential, and even at the level of human auditory brainstem. In contrast, violations of more complex regularities, such as those defined by the alternation of two different tones or by feature conjunctions (i.e., frequency and location) fail to elicit MLR correlates but elicit sizable MMNs. Taken together, these findings support the emerging view that regularity encoding, as revealed by deviance detection, is a basic principle of the functional organization of the auditory system, one that it is organized in ascending levels of complexity along the auditory pathway expanding from the brainstem up to higher-order areas of the cerebral cortex.
Prof. John J. B. Allen, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Neural systems underlying risk for depression: Towards a neurally-informed treatment approach
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is unfortunately common and creates a substantial economic and personal burden. An integrative account of neural mechanisms that give rise to risk for MDD will require the examination of multiple neural systems, those in the brain as well as those in the body. In this talk, I will review our work examining frontal brain electrical asymmetries, resting-state fMRI (RSfMRI) connectivity, and cardiac vagal control as systems important in risk for MDD. The interaction of these systems using simultaneously-acquired EEG, EKG, and RSfMRI data suggests two key systems that may be altered in MDD. The first entails deficits in MDD in the neural networks that provide for cognitive control and emotion regulation. The second suggests dysregulation in the medial visceromotor network, resulting in decreased coupling between cardiac vagal control and the brain systems that monitor and control autonomic function. Finally I will preview ongoing work involving a relatively novel method of brain stimulation with transcranial ultrasound that may hold promise to positively influence mood.
Prof. Naoyuki Osaka, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University, Japan
Member, The Japan Academy
Understanding self and others in the social working brain
Philosophers and psychologists have been exploring issues about the representation of the self in the social brain for long time. Recently, social neuroscientists have joined the debate and started to investigate the unique seat of the self and others using fMRI and fNIRS in the human brain. One of the interesting problem about the representation of self and others in the social brain is whether they are domain specific or not in the medial prefrontal cortex. However, Neural correlates of self and others in the brain remain unclear at present. We here present the way to understand self and others through their dynamic interaction, under the self-referential verbal task, the agent interaction animation task, the self-descriptive cartoon task using fMRI and the vocal coordination task by two peoples using fNIRS hyperscanning in the working social brain.