Booz Allen Hamilton Colloquium: Lucas Parra, Professor, City College of New York

Friday, November 12, 2021
3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
1110 Kim Building
Kara Stamets
301 405 4471

Speaker: Lucas C. Parra, Harold Shames Professor of Biomedical Engineering, City College of New York 
Title: Narratives synchronize brain, hearts and eye
Livestream link:
Abstract: Neural, physiological and behavioral signals synchronize between human subjects in a variety of settings. Multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain this interpersonal synchrony, but there is no clarity under which conditions it arises, for which signals, or whether there is a common underlying mechanism. We hypothesized that similar cognitive processing of a shared stimulus is the source of synchrony between subjects, measured here as inter-subject correlation. To test this we presented informative videos to participants in an attentive and distracted condition and subsequently measured information recall. Inter-subject correlation was observed for electro-encephalography, gaze position, pupil size and heart rate, but not respiration and head movements. The strength of correlation was co-modulated in the different signals, changed with attentional state, and predicted subsequent recall of information presented in the videos. There was robust within-subject coupling between brain, heart and eyes, but not respiration or head movements. The results suggest that inter-subject correlation is the result of similar cognitive processing and thus emerges only for those signals that exhibit a robust brain-body connection. While physiological and behavioral fluctuations may be driven by multiple features of the stimulus, correlation with other individuals is co-modulated by the level of attentional engagement with the stimulus.

Bio: Lucas C. Parra is Harold Shames Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY) and Affiliate Member of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2020-). He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in 1996 with research in the area of machine learning under the guidance of Gustavo Deco. Prior to joining CCNY he worked on medical imaging at Siemens Corporate Research (1995-1997) and acoustic signal processing at Sarnoff Corporation (1997-2003).

Host: Professor Jonathan Simon

Audience: Clark School  Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty  Staff  Post-Docs  Alumni 

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