Aalto University, the University of the Arts Helsinki, and Tampere University are collaborating to develop a virtual meeting which looks and feels as if all participants were sharing the same space. In addition to the senses of sight and hearing, a feeling of authenticity can also be created through touch and smell.
Brain and Mind Laboratory
We use real-life like stimuli, such as movies and narrated stories, during fMRI and MEG/EEG, to engage social cognition and affective processes in experimental subjects. The resulting complex neuroimaging data, complemented by a diversity of behavioral measures, are analyzed by algorithms that we constantly develop as an integral part of our research efforts. We have used machine learning multivariate analysis methods to decode emotional states from brain activity, graph-theory based analysis tools to estimate functional complex sub-networks in neurotypical and high-functioning autistic subjects, and inter-subject similarity measures as model-free analysis approaches to study neural mechanisms of mutual understanding.
The three projects examine the long-term effects of premature birth, emotional states within groups, and children's brain activity during language processing. The total sum granted to these Aalto projects is about EUR one million.
New collaboration with researchers in Moscow to study impact of cultural background on brain activity
Iiro Jääskeläinen receives funding from the Russian mega-grant programme to study how cultural background affects thinking and emotions
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of people watching the same clip from a dramatic film show that holistic thinkers all have similar brain responses to the scene, whereas analytical thinkers respond differently to each other.
According to a recent doctoral study, cultural differences regarding physical touch between close partners are smaller than was believed. Different cultures are more comfortable with different levels of contact from strangers, and what counts as acceptable physical contact in public spaces changes based on where you are. The brain data also reveals whether the relationship between the person touching and the one being touched is close or not.
A Finnish research group from the University of Turku, University of Tampere and Aalto University has mapped the organisation of human conscious feelings and found them to cluster into five major categories: positive emotions, negative emotions, cognitive functions, somatic states, and illnesses.
Key repeating moments in the film give viewers the information they need to understand the storyline. The scenes cause identical reactions in the viewer’s brain. The results deepen our understanding of how the brain functions, how narratives work in film, and memory mechanisms impaired by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain mechanisms of basic emotions such as anger and happiness are fairly similar across people. Differences are greater in social emotions, such as gratitude and contempt.