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01/19/18: Defence of dissertation in the field of biomedical engineering, Kaisu Lankinen, M.Sc. (Tech)

Brain activity during movie viewing

Kaisu Lankinen, M.Sc.(Tech.), will defend the dissertation "Dynamics of cortical brain activity during movie viewing" on 19 January 2018 at 12:15 noon at the Aalto University School of Science. In her thesis work, Lankinen has examined brain activity during movie viewing as measured with magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Movies trigger perceptual, cognitive and emotional processes at multiple levels of the viewer's brain, and they thus provide useful tools to study human brain function. Furthermore, movies—as relatively natural stimuli—can help understand brain activity occurring during our everyday life.

In this dissertation, brain activity was studied with magnetoencephalography (MEG) that measures the electromagnetic activity of synchronized neuronal populations with a temporal resolution of a millisecond. Because of the complexity of both the brain function and the measured signals, it is challenging to uncover the signals of interest from the measured brain activity. Thus, this dissertation aimed at developing MEG analysis tools that can capture complex brain responses to movies.

The studies demonstrated the feasibility of the applied novel analysis approaches to uncover across-subjects consistency in complex MEG signals measured during movie viewing. The results demonstrated that a part of the neuromagnetic brain activity is synchronized across viewers with high temporal accuracy in multiple brain regions, and that the contents of the movie can continuously modulate the viewers’ brain activity in certain brain areas. The analysis approaches of this dissertation can be applied in the analysis of MEG data acquired also in other types of naturalistic experimental settings, such as listening to natural speech.

Dissertation release (in Finnish, pdf)

Opponent: Assistant Professor Laura Astolfi, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Custos: professor Lauri Parkkonen, Aalto University School of Science, Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering  

Electronic dissertation: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-60-7807-6