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Brain research with cinema: how does the brain work in everyday situations? Open minds with open science

Michael Hanke (Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, D-USA Collaboration) and Jörg Stadler (Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology Magdeburg, LIN) have committed themselves to the idea of "Open Science". Their unique brain data set for everyday cognition, the "studyforrest project", stimulates international brain research (November 2016).

Hirnforschung mit Kino

Cinema in the MRT: Jörg Stadler (r.) in the MRT control room, while a subject is being prepared for the measurement.

Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, OVGU Magdeburg, Image: D. Mahler Speziallabor Nicht-Invasive Bildgebung im LIN Magdeburg

Of course, real cineastes rather prefer to watch a movie in a cinema or on the sofa than in a magnetic resonance tomograph (MRT). However, the researchers Michael Hanke and Jörg Stadler invited 15 young people to watch a movie in the MRT in order to record complex data on brain activity, eye movements, pulse and breathing frequency during each individual film scene. Unlike usual psychological experiments, in which often only very simple and abstract stimuli are presented to the subject, the underlying experiment requires the brain to simultaneously process what is seen and heard as well as feelings and emotions, recognize people and understand movie sections - a complex everyday performance. The clou of the project: the scientists published the neuroscientific data set they had collected in extensive measurements on the internet.

Please read the complete press release by the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology