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Toronto neuroscientists conduct crowdsourcing brain research

Neuroscientists from Toronto of Canada have conducted crowdsourcing experiment to collect brain data from around 500 adults, in a bid to know new insights about the brain.

Baycrest Health Sciences, Rotman Research Institute Dr Natasha Kovacevic is the lead author of a scientific paper on the crowdsourcing experiment – "My Virtual Dream: Collective Neurofeedback in an Immersive Art Environment."

Using InteraXon’s Muse wireless electroencephalography (EEG) headband, the researchers collected brain data from the adults at a major arts event in Toronto.

Muse is a clinical grade and smartphone-linked EEG headband that enables individuals learn meditation, improve attention, and manage stress by offering direct and real-time insights into their brains.

Baycrest, along with the University of Toronto and industry partners, created a large-scale art/science installation known as My Virtual Dream that housed the experiment.

Festival-goers wore the Muse headband and participated in a brief collective neurofeedback experience in groups of 20 inside a 60ft geodesic dome.

EEG brain data for the study has been collected from around 523 adults, including 209 males and 314 females, ranging in age from 18 to 89.

The neurofeedback training was carried out for 6.5 minutes and it used group’s collective EEG signals to control lighting and imagery inside the exhibit.

The massive amount of EEG data collected in one night yielded showed that subtle brain activity changes were taken place within around one minute of starting the neurofeedback learning exercise and an unprecedented speed of neural learning, adaptation, and control were observed, which has not been demonstrated before.

Dr Graeme Moffat, a neuroscientist with Muse, said: "With Muse, we can now use proven EEG technology in a way that allows hundreds or even thousands of people to participate in brain research, both inside and outside the lab."