Arts-based research

uwasThere’s a great initiative in Aalto University, called UWAS, or University-Wide Arts Studies. The aim of UWAS is to “offer access to arts-based thinking” to all students at Aalto. UWAS is organising a two-day seminar called U-Create, and I was invited to take part in a panel discussion on “arts-based research”. The panel takes place at 10:45–12:00 on Wednesday 2nd November, and you can watch the livestream or the recording here.

We were sent some initial questions for the panel (which , when I’m writing this, is tomorrow). So, spoiler alert, here’s what I’ll answer!

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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: 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

Learning the brain


OK folk(s), Synchronised Minds turns a new page, along with me starting a new job. I’ll update the info to the about section etc. as soon as possible, but the news is that I’m now working at the Brain Research Unit of the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory in the Aalto University. I’m still working on the synchronised minds, although now moving into looking at synchronised brains as well as synchronised bodies, as an evidence of that mindsync. 🙂

I’m working on a project called Brain2Brain, which is an ERC-funded attempt to develop two-person neuroscience (2PN); that is, methods and approaches to study dyads, interacting people, instead of isolated individuals. This is unbelievable exciting and to me a dream job. Although of course it is challenging, as I have not done neuroscientific studies before. I’ve been a participant in many of them, have read many of the papers and even taught my students about the findings, but of course planning and executing a brain study is a different thing. Luckily there is a lot of experienced people around me, so I don’t have to do these alone.

But, I have to learn a lot about the brain and how to study it. I think with the proliferation of neuroscience to all human sciences and also the growing public interest on the topic, it might be of more general interest to figure out how one can learn about the brain. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful in my attempt to gain a better understanding of how the brain works and how it can be studied. Continue reading