Funding to Aalto University's aivoAALTO Research Project


The Board of Aalto University has granted funding for a three-year period for the aivoAALTO research project, which utilizes modern brain imaging methods to examine brain basis of social interaction and decision-making, as well as the effect of cinema on the human mind. The project is based on TKK’s solid expertise in brain imaging and systems neuroscience, combined with TaiK’s film research (neurocinematics) and HSE’s research on financial decision-making (neuroeconomics). An external expert was also consulted for a statement concerning the research project. The project is spearheaded by Professor Riitta Hari.  

Almost one hundred research-idea proposals

The call for ideas for research projects combining know-how from the three universities was declared open to Aalto University researchers and research groups in spring 2008. Three research ideas from close to one hundred proposals were selected for further development and drafting of research plans.

aivoAALTO combines three universities’ know-how

The Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) possesses know-how in human brain research as well as in modern brain imaging and related methodological development, involving three Centers of Excellence of research, among others. The development of new methods is essential in the research of genuine interaction.

Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) boasts special expertise in human choice behavior and financial decision-making. Neuroeconomical experiments examine the neural basis for decision-making by utilizing, for example, games well-known from the game theory as easily controllable decision-making models. Brain activation in various game situations unravels, for example, the relationship between reason and emotions, thereby deepening our understanding of the decision-making process.

The contact surface between University of Art and Design Helsinki (TaiK) and brain researchers is cinema, which provides a natural, controllable environment. Movies both stimulate and simulate the human mind. The new research branch of neurocinematics, in particular, shows how film can be used to tackle in-depth issues regarding how similarly humans experience their world. The research will include comparison of brain activity of different persons while they view the same movie.

Fresh knowledge of mind and brain activity

A better understanding of the rain basis of social interaction leads to various applications in human welfare and health care. The rapid technologization and digitalization of the environment requires a deeper insight into the impacts of these processes on the brain and the mind. The project also offers multidisciplinary education to undergraduate and graduate students in Aalto University.

The research project is highly ambitious and aims for scientifically significant outcomes. The rapidly developing brain imaging methodology has generated great interest toward human brain activity across a wide range of disciplines. Simultaneously, it has been noted that the human mind cannot be understood without observing brain activity in direct interaction with the environment, which consist of other individuals as well as social and cultural practices.

Project Director Riitta Hari is an internationally esteemed neuroscientist as well as the director of a Center of Excellence appointed by the Academy of Finland.

Further information

- Professor Outi Krause, outi.krause [at] aaltouniversity [dot] fi, tel. +358 50 3841 698
- Professor Riitta Hari, riitta.hari [at] tkk [dot] fi, tel. +358 400 536 440 The project is spearheaded by Professor Riitta Hari.




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