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Interbrain dynamical functions for anticipating synchronisation under mutual interactions


   Department of Biomedical Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

How can we communicate with other members of society and synchronise our motion in real-time? Crucial to a sense of communication is the ability to entrain perceptually with other members of society, i.e., to be able to follow and to lead, while maintaining individual autonomy. However, the reorganisation of the brain activity under real-time coordinated motion has never been investigated in terms of simultaneous scanning/analysis of two brains. The aim of this project is to reveal how two brains work together to achieve collaborative tasks.

For social animals, moving bodies together in harmony plays an important role to facilitate social interactions. In humans, such coordinated actions are common in group activities such as playing music and dancing. Here, the question arises: how can two persons maintain the sense of autonomy, feeling accomplishment of the tasks together, rather than feeling used by the other?

In an evolutionary sense, the mirror-neuron system, the neuronal population which fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another, should facilitate higher cognition such as language acquisition, interpersonal coordination, and social perception. However, how the mirror-neuron system functions under real-time interactions with another mirror-neuron system has not been revealed.

In this project, first, we will capture whole-body motion while two persons are engaged in cooperative tasks, and we will scan two brains simultaneously, and extract neuronal networks of two brains influencing each other in real-time.

Research group:

Dr. Hayashi’s research spans the areas of complex physical systems, behavioural science and neuroscience, with specific expertise in: 1) non-equilibrium dynamics governing adaptive behaviour in physical and living systems; 2) neural/behavioural mechanisms of the closed brain-body loop for Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI); and 3) mathematical models underpinning behaviour and activity of neural networks. A key focus of his work has been revealing how the closed loop of brain-body systems of humans gives rise to behavioural patterns and cognitive behaviour during interactions with other humans. Techniques include physio-chemical experiments, behavioural experiments, electroencephalogram (EEG) measurement, and mathematical modelling.

The lab website is https://www.sites.google.com/site/complexlivingmachineslab/.

The first supervisor for this project is Dr Yoshikatsu Hayashi (University of Reading); the second supervisor is Prof Toshiyuki Kondo (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan).

School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading:

The University of Reading, located west of London, England, provides world-class research education programs. The University’s main Whiteknights Campus is set in 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, a 30-minute train ride to central London and 40 minutes from London Heathrow airport. 

Our School of Biological Sciences conducts high-impact research, tackling current global challenges faced by society and the planet. Our research ranges from understanding and improving human health and combating disease, through to understanding evolutionary processes and uncovering new ways to protect the natural world. In 2020, we moved into a stunning new ~£60 million Health & Life Sciences building. This state-of-the-art facility is purpose-built for science research and teaching. It houses the Cole Museum of Zoology, a café and social spaces.

Eligibility:

Applicants should have a good degree (minimum of a UK Upper Second (2:1) undergraduate degree or equivalent) in Engineering, Bioengineering, Physics in nonequilibrium/complex systems, Neuroscience, Behavioural science, or a related discipline. Applicants will also need to meet the University’s English Language requirements. We offer pre-sessional courses that can help with meeting these requirements.

How to apply:

Submit an application for a PhD in Biological Sciences at http://www.reading.ac.uk/pgapply.

 

Further information:

http://www.reading.ac.uk/biologicalsciences/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/PhD/sbs-phd.aspx

 

Enquiries:

Dr. Yoshikatsu Hayashi, email: [FH3] 


Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.
If you are applying to an international funding scheme, we encourage you to get in contact as we may be able to support you in your application.

References


Please see Dr Yoshikatsu Hayashi's academic profile: http://www.reading.ac.uk/biologicalsciences/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/Meetourteam/staff/y-hayashi.aspx

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