Cognition in action: imaging brain/body dynamics in mobile humans

Klaus Gramann, Joseph T. Gwin 2 , Daniel P. Ferris 2 , Kelvin Oie 3 , Tzyy-Ping Jung, Chin-Teng Lin, Lun-De Liao and Scott Makeig 1
  • 1 Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computation, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
  • 2 Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • 3 Translational Neuroscience Branch, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, USA
  • 4 Brain Research Center, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • 5 Department of Computer Science, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan


We have recently developed a mobile brain imaging method (MoBI), that allows for simultaneous recording of brain and body dynamics of humans actively behaving in and interacting with their environment. A mobile imaging approach was needed to study cognitive processes that are inherently based on the use of human physical structure to obtain behavioral goals. This review gives examples of the tight coupling between human physical structure with cognitive processing and the role of supraspinal activity during control of human stance and locomotion. Existing brain imaging methods for actively behaving participants are described and new sensor technology allowing for mobile recordings of different behavioral states in humans is introduced. Finally, we review recent work demonstrating the feasibility of a MoBI system that was developed at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, demonstrating the range of behavior that can be investigated with this method.

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Reviews in the Neurosciences provides a forum for reviews, critical evaluations and theoretical treatment of selective topics in the neurosciences. The journal provides an authoritative reference work for those interested in the structure and functions of the nervous system at all levels of analysis, including the genetic, molecular, cellular, behavioral, cognitive and clinical neurosciences.