Wearable Brain Imaging

=== Featuring JSPS KAKENHI Funded Projects ===

Reaction of Brain and Body to Paralinguistic Characteristics of Human Voice



Sound therapy is currently being explored as a promising way to promote mental health and well-being. Sound stimulation (music, nature sounds, etc.) shows positive results in clinic: from improving cognitive functions in Alzheimer's patients to reducing pain during surgery (Clements-Cortes & Bartel 2015; Nilsson et al. 2005). There is a growing body of evidence that sound therapy (i.e., music and poetry therapy) is effective in reducing stress and anxiety (Mohammadian et al. 2011; Jabarouti & Shariat 2013; Noel 2010; Maess, Koelsch, et al., 2001). At the same time, the mechanism of sound therapy is not well-understood. In current studies, music or poetry is seen more as a holistic phenomenon. Its influence was known in human culture long before it was supported by neuroscience research. In this way, we might miss hidden active components that may be present not only in specific arts but also in other types of sound stimulation, like normal human speech. For example, there is clinical evidence, that Lullaby performed only by voice (without music, through the headsets) could significantly reduce heart rate and increase blood oxygen saturation of neonates in the clinic (Taheri et al., 2016). However, it is not clear whether the therapeutic effect originated from the melody, or the human voice itself.

In our research, we focus on the effect of sound stimulation on the stress response as a universal component accompanying a wide range of physical and mental disorders. Stress is well known for its integrative physiological effects: it involves the whole body through sympathetic activation and changing biochemical balance. We need to find out the underlying mechanism behind sound therapy. Through this, we want to explore the therapeutic potential of human speech as the most common way of communication and mutual influence.

The main Research Question is: how functional states of the brain (increase or decrease in stress response) can be influenced by nonverbal components of human speech (musical elements of speech (melody and rhythm) & socio-communicative elements (intonation, affective prosody)).

fNIRS brain imaging + multimodal physiological sensing

Where is Stress Processed at Night? A Neuroimaging Study into Stress-Related Abnormality in Brain

=== Funded by JSPS KAKENHI ===


Dr. Zilu Liang


 To explore stress-related abnormality in brain activity especially during sleep.



Dr. Zilu Liang

Selected Publications