Neurogenetic Media: From Research Tool to New Art Applications

Attractor: Aleksander Valjamae

Rapid development and maturation of different brain imaging techniques fostered new research domains of imaging genetics and neurocinematics. On one hand, imaging genetics links together brain activity studies in laboratory that are typically employ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) techniques with studies on human behavior genetics. Examples of imaging genetics studies that try to link certain genes with particular brain responses include different mood disorders, human decision-making, or human trust and altruism. Many of these studies already use interactive Virtual Reality (VR) scenarios to investigate human behavior in controlled situations. On the other hand, neurocinematics analyze brain activity of multiple viewers in order to find common patterns of film experiences. Particular interest here represents an area that is very close to neurocinemantics – enactive cinema technologies that allow viewer’s experience to influence the film content in real-time using brain imaging. It is natural to think about the possible new field that would merge the two above-mentioned fields into the new field of neurogenetic media. Here, different media like interactive films, or VR can be specifically designed to trigger particular brain responses, for example, for diagnosis of schizophrenia, that will be linked to the viewers genetic data. But the reverse might be also true – viewer’s genetics might determine which film to watch in the evening. Neurogenetic media futuristic concept has many open questions and this session will aim at stimulating discussion on this topic.

Biography: Aleksander Väljamäe has received his PhD in applied acoustics at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2007. During his PhD studies concerning multisensory perception he has being a visiting researcher at University of Barcelona (Dr. Soto-Faraco) and NTT Communication Science Labs, Japan (Dr. Kitagawa). He has being active in a number of EU funded projects: POEMS, PRESENCCIA, BrainAble, Future BNCI, CONTRAST and GALA. In 2007-2010 he has being a postdoc and a psychophysiology lab director at Laboratory for Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS), Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, obtaining several grants as PI from national Spanish funding. Currently he is a senior postdoctoral researcher at Neuropsychology Laboratory, University of Graz, Austria. His psychophysiology research concerns how audiovisual media influence humans on perceptual and cognitive level, with particular stress on the novel methods for diagnosis and treatment of various brain disorders (e.g. autism, depression, chronic pain, migraine) and new applications (BCI, neurocinema).