The BRAIN Center and IEEE EMBS Distinguished Lecture: Paul Sajda

On April 20, 2018, Prof.Paul Sajda gave a presentation titled Fusing Simultaneously Acquired EEG and fMRI to Infer Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Cognition in the Human Brain to the BRAIN Center and IEEE EMBS distinguished lecture held at University of Houston.

Paul Sajda (IEEE Fellow, AMBIE Fellow, AAAS Fellow) is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Radiology (Physics) and a Member of Columbia’s Data Science Institute at Columbia University. He is interested in what happens in our brains when we make a rapid decision and in real-time brain-computer interfaces that are aimed at improving interactions between humans and machines.  He is also applying his methodology to understand how deficits in rapid decision-making may underlie and be diagnostic of many types of psychiatric diseases and mental illnesses. Professor Sajda is a co-founder of several neurotechnology companies and the Chair of the IEEE Brain Initiative.

During the lecture, he discussed how advances in neural signal and image acquisition as well as in multivariate signal processing and machine learning are enabling a richer and more rigorous understanding of the neural basis of human decision-making. He further spoke about essential characterization of decision-making behaviorally by the variability of the decision across individual trials—e.g., error and response time distributions. To infer the neural processes that govern decision-making requires identifying neural correlates of such trial-to-trial behavioral variability.

In this talk, he discussed how simultaneously acquired electroencephalograpy (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are used to infer the spatiotemporal dynamics that underlie the formation and execution of rapid perceptual decisions. The major focus of the talk was on the different approaches their team have developed to couple the trial-to-trial variability in the EEG and hemodynamic signals, and how to relate the resulting measures to elements of the perceptual decision-making process.

The presentation was followed by an engaging discussion between participants and Prof. Paul Sajda about the future research directions and the challenges involved in the work.

Article written by Newsletter Chairperson: Payal Majumdar. Let us know if you would like to be part of the newsletter team capturing events and sharing our stories.

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