2015 in review

Well here’s a recurring new year’s resolution: blog¬†more actively. ūüėÄ

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mielimusiikki ja riskinotto

Halko & Kaustila 2015

Riskin hyväksyntä riskin suuruuden funktiona, mielimusiikin ja inhokkimusiikin kuuluessa taustalla (Halko & Kaustila, 2015)

YLE Tiede julkaisi tänään jutun tutkimuksesta, jonka mukaan mielimusiikin kuunteleminen lisää taloudellista riskinottoa. Atso Almila kysäisi Twitterissä, miksi tällaista tutkimusta tehdään, ja lupasin tähän vastata. Koska juttu ei mahdu helposti Twitterin 140 merkkiin, kirjoitan muutamat päällimmäiset ajatukset tänne torkkuvan blogini puolelle.

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Brain-to-brain interface – but what is being transmitted?

High-tech tinfoil hat

There’s a cool new paper on brain-to-brain interfaces, and I’m sure it will be misinterpreted in the media, just like every other paper of this genre. ūüôā

There have been a couple of demonstrations of brain-to-brain interfaces¬†before, and I’ve written about one of the previous papers in Finnish.¬†¬†The idea of BBI is that information about one participant’s brain state is read (typically using EEG), and then the brain state of another participant is manipulated, typically using TMS. At least in the press, these demonstrations are often termed as “telepathy” or “mind-reading”,¬†and illustrated by images from Star Trek, X-Men or just people in tinfoil hats. Often the implications of these studies is posed as a question: will we soon be able to communicate with each other directly, without language? Will all our brains be connected together to form a giant common consciousness?

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ABC of MEG

Aalto Brain Centre (ABC) organised yesterday a panel discussion to answer frequently asked questions about magnetoencephalography (MEG), a brain research method that is based on detecting the minute magnetic fields that brain activity generates. The panel was livestreamed, and the stream is now available online, and embedded below.

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Social eMotions @OuDance

Kävimme esittelemässä Koneen säätiön rahoittamaa Social eMotions -projektiamme Oulussa, OuDance-festivaalilla. Kerroimme Jarkko Lehmuksen kanssa projektin tavoitteista ja siitä, mitä olemme tähän mennessä tehneet. Tiivistetysti: tutkimme tunteita kehollisina, sosiaalisina ja dynaamisina ilmiöinä. Videolla Jarkko ja Johanna Nuutinen demonstroivat tutkimusta varten luotua liikemateriaalia, lisäksi näytämme pari liikedata-animaatiota ja kerromme muutenkin projektin etenemisestä. Esittelimme tutkimusta Oulun kulttuuritalo Valven aulassa juuri ennen illan tanssiesityksiä.

Social eMotions @ OuDance from Tommi Himberg on Vimeo.

Rhythm Perception and Production Workshop RPPW2015

Royal Tropical Institute

After 10-year hiatus, I attended the Rhythm Perception and Production Workshop (RPPW), that this time was organised in Amsterdam. Since the last time, this conference series has changed a lot: the range of topics and approaches was huge, spanning from animal rhythmic abilities to gait, from¬†Parkinson’s to language, from¬†music and dance to rowing, with lots of neuroscience papers presented. Continue reading

New paper: word rhythm entrainment in a story-telling game

entrainment_crop

This picture depicts the relative timing of the pairs’ words. In the absence of any influence from the partner, the distribution would follow the red dashed line. Instead, the distribution is strongly concentrated on 180 degrees, which means the partners are in anti-phase entrainment – the words of one occur close to half way between the words of the other.

It’s always a nice milestone¬†to get a paper published.¬†We reached one today as our paper in Frontiers in Psychology – Language Sciences was published.¬†Our paper is part of a¬†very interesting Research Topic, Turn-taking in Human Communicative Interaction.

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Movement data – what to do with it?

Dance

 

Now that we have recorded the approximately 450MB of movement data, it’s time to start¬†processing and analysing it, and getting it ready for the next stages of the project. This, and probably the next couple of posts are about movement data: in this post I’ll explain briefly how optical motion capture works, and in the next ones what we can do with¬†the data. ¬† Continue reading

Social eMotions: movement recordings completed!

Video clip from our recording session

Click the image for a video clip!

What a day! Yesterday we completed an important phase in the project: we have now recorded the movement data we are going to use in the next phases. This phase posed challenges for everyone in the project, as the artistic team, Jarkko and Johanna, had to create a choreography that could then be performed in different emotional scenarios, and then perfect those different scenarios to make them into convincing short stories, where the dynamic, social emotional processes are conveyed through body movements alone. The scientific team (me, Klaus and Maija) were racking our brains trying to figure out which combinations of emotions we should include (and crucially, which ones we could exclude), trying to make sure we have enough and correct data for the following phases (kinematic analysis, movement synthesis, and perceptual experiments).  Continue reading

Social eMotions – sosiaaliset tunteet

Jarkko and Johanna - our dancers/choreographers are also very excited for the project!

Jarkko and Johanna – our dancers/choreographers are also very excited for the project!

Excitement! A new project! We recently got funding for a cool project that combines art and science, and have now started to work on it. We plan to document the two-year process in various ways, including posts in this blog. Our project, ‘Social eMotions’ combines movement research, psychology and contemporary dance. We are funded by the Kone Foundation, which is very exciting for us, as these grants are highly sought after and we are proud to be among the recipients, alongside the cr√®me de la cr√®me of¬†Finnish arts and humanities! According to their definition, they fund “bold initiatives” in¬†research and in the arts. We have five people in the team. The science crew consists of me, Klaus F√∂rger and Maija Niinisalo, and we¬†have worked together on¬†previous behavioural synchrony projects. Our choreographer/dancers are Jarkko Lehmus and Johanna Nuutinen.¬† Continue reading