Our 2018-2019 Bass Connections project team was the most productive collaboration yet. During this time, we trained a new group of undergraduate and graduate students in the process of properly conducting an electroencephalograph (EEG) study, and how to design, collect, and analyze behavioral data from an online participant pool.
Our team began the year investigating the extent to which consumer-based EEG devices can accurately detect fluctuations in attentional and emotional states. Despite early skepticism, initial data gathered shows support for the potential long-term experimental use of these devices. This innovative technique for collecting neurological information will greatly help the project moving forward.
A concurrent study looked into brain data privacy. Students created a questionnaire, collected responses, and analyzed data to further understand the public’s view of their brain information and 3rd party access to their data. The project team drafted the results for a manuscript and prepared the findings in a poster for presentation during the 2019 Spring Bass Connections showcase. The team also hopes to present the data at this year’s International Neuroethics Society annual conference in Chicago this fall.
Dr. William Krenzer’s leadership in organizing the hands-on experience of running participants through the experiment was the highlight of the project.
“Any student that gets to learn from his experiences and through a project run by him should consider themselves wildly lucky,” said one student in an anonymous survey. “I can’t emphasize enough how much he meant to myself and the rest of the program.”
Naturally, such vertically integrated teams see many participants graduating at the end of the year. However, we are very excited for the handful of students who will be continuing with the project during the new academic year. Their experience will provide valuable mentorship opportunity as new students join the team this fall.
We expect our 2019-2020 team’s progress to surpass this year’s as we continue to collect EEG data via these consumer-based devices, with hopes of furthering our understanding of the neurological processes associated with attention and emotion. We anticipate continued commercial growth of this technology and will continue building on our understanding of individual views of brain data privacy and the potential issues that can arise from widespread use.
William Krenzer is a Postdoctoral Associate in Science and Society, specifically working in the Science, Law, and Policy (SLAP) Lab. His research within SLAP Lab broadly explores how neuroscience (e.g., EEG) can be used to understand, or better explain, common practices within law.