Updated: Nov 28, 2017
Anderson Cooper and the crew of "60 Minutes" visited the laboratory on March 30th to find out how my colleagues and I are investigating the effects of personal technology--in this case, #smartphones--upon people's behaviors, physiology, and brains.
The Brain Imaging Lab contains psychophysiological and #brain imaging equipment. The lab technician, Jonathan ("JP") Pedroza, helped me conduct an imaging study of Mr. Cooper's (@andersoncooper) prefrontal cortex.
Mr. Cooper was interested in learning how the brain might be affected by smartphone use.
Imaging the Prefrontal Cortex
We used functional near-infrared spectroscopy for Mr. Cooper's visit. The device sits comfortably on the forehead and uses infrared light beams to estimate blood flow in the brain. Mr. Cooper performed a neuropsychological test known as the N-Back Task while we recorded his brain activity. The N-Back Task makes a person use his working memory, and it's performed in parts of the prefrontal cortex.
Our goal was to show the viewers of the TV show the technology that we use to measure brain activity in this extremely important part of the brain. Mr. Cooper was interested in learning how the brain might be affected by smartphone use.
The episode, called "Brain Hacking," aired on April 9, 2017. Unfortunately, the parts with me in it--and the functional near-infrared spectroscopy device--did not make it into the final airing. Nevertheless, my colleagues were able to share their work, which featured the laboratory and the campus as a whole (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-brain-hacking-tech-insiders-on-why-you-should-care/).
(photos courtesy of CSUDH)