Brain-to-brain connectivity from simultaneous neuroelectric and autonomic multi-subjects recordings as a new tool to study human social interaction.

Research project

Description

There is general agreement, in the field of Social Neurosciences, about the influence exerted by other individuals on cognitive processes established during experimental tasks involving an interaction between subjects. The recent field of simultaneous multi-subjects recordings (“hyperscanning”) during specific interaction tasks allows to study the neurophysiological basis of such interaction, taking into account, for the first time, the causal relations between the brain activations in the involved subjects, providing information that cannot be achieved by the separate analysis of each experimental subject. However, ss for today, an approach to the estimation of functional connectivity specifically developed to describe a system made of different interacting subjects is completely lacking. As a consequence, we lack a modeling framework giving an interpretative and physiological meaning to the statistical causality obtained empirically from the brain activations of different subjects when interacting, and disappearing when such interactions are disrupted. In summary, we lack a specific modeling that can help us to ascribe a meaningful and physiologically plausible interpretation to the brain-to-brain causality we obtain in the statistical sense.
This Research Project aims to contribute substantially to the development of hyperscanning methods and to the possibility for them to be applied to the neuroscience field, by means of a methodology for the estimation of inter-brain connectivity between different subjects involved in interaction tasks, based on signals of the neuroelectrical activity (hdEEG), behavioral and autonomic (HRV, GSR, RF) to take into account the emotional component of the subjects' behavior. Such model will be expressly developed to describe a system made by different interacting subjects and will be validated by means of repetitive Transcranic Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). The aims of this project will be made possible by the cooperation between the two Research Units, integrating an advanced approach to the brain signal processing and an advanced statistical analysis of neural network connectivity, with the implementation of innovative neural network models for the simulation and interpretation of neuroelectrical physiological data. The complementarity of the expertise and background will make it possible to achieve the ambitious goal of building a completely new types model of brain connectivity, able to incorporate the information returned by neuroelectrical and autonomic signals and to simulate (give an interpretation) the neurophysiological different meanings assumed by the connectivity of intra and inter subjects, related to a specific cognitive task.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/1/13 → …

Funding

  • MIUR - FIRB

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Interpersonal Relations
Brain
Neurosciences
Causality
Neural Networks (Computer)