Monday March 16, 2015

EEG from the Other Side of the Table

Image 3 As I previously described, I had my brain activity scanned and mapped last June as part of Dario Nardi's neuroscience and personality study. I had a wonderful time, but I had to wonder what the experience was like on the other side of the desk.

Although Dario had taken a few pictures of the computer screen while my scan was in progress, that wasn't quite the same as seeing the process in action. I really wanted a chance to observe a scanning session.

So, when Dario brought his equipment to the Bay Area this past weekend and offered brain scanning sessions to members of BAAPT, I asked if it would be all right for me to attend and watch as long as the person wearing the EEG cap agreed. Dario said yes, I asked a fellow BAAPT member (Ellen), who said "Sure!" and we were set.

Ellen's session was yesterday afternoon. I made sure to show up a bit early so no one would have to wait for me. I met Ellen in the lobby of the hotel where Dario was conducting the sessions, Dario came to get us, and we went upstairs. Ellen and I chatted a bit as Dario got things ready.

Dario got Ellen into the EEG cap. I was interested to note that her body language changed to match what I had felt in my session -- "oh, dear, I can't move, it will come off" (it won't, but that's how it feels). Then he asked me to talk with her for a few minutes to get her brain "warmed up" while he calibrated the program.

Because Ellen shares the same type preference as me (INTJ), I had brought along printouts of some INTJ connectivity maps (composite, 8 examples) that Dario had posted to Facebook last year. I thought she might like to compare them to her own map, later. We talked abut those for a few minutes.

Then he started the session.

These sessions were shorter than the one I did last June, but the activities were similar: a meditation exercise, arithmetic problems, vocabulary and language exercises, listening to a piece of music. For each task, the brain activity is more "important" than the actual answers. How does your brain react to this or that exercise?

At times during the session, Dario would comment on what he was seeing or ask me if I had noticed anything in particular about what I saw on the screen. The colored bars represent brain activity, with the length of the bar corresponding to amplitude (longer bars = more activity) and the color corresponding to wavelength (photo from one of Dario's presentation slides, as posted to Facebook).

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Wavelength and state of mind

When it came time for some minor physical activities (e.g. tossing and catching a ball), Dario asked me to do them with Ellen to give him a rare chance to watch the computer screen and make notes.

One of the most interesting parts of the session occurred when the room telephone rang. We weren't expecting it and, apparently, neither was Ellen's brain! All of the bars on the screen went red at full length. The phone rang a second time before Dario got to it and the bars all went red again. I suggested that Dario add a surprise alarm at a random point in each session to the study protocol!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch from the other side of the desk. Now I wonder what the screen would look like if I were observing someone with very different Type preferences from my own! Perhaps, some day, I'll get to find out.

EEG from the Other Side of the Table ( in category Personality Type , Special Interests , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 16 Mar, 14:49 Pacific | «e»

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