Research Talk: Measuring Cognitive Learning in HCI using fNIRS

April 16, 2010
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Halligan 111A
Speaker: Francine Lalooses, Tufts University


Human computer interaction (HCI) deals with the interaction between users and computers. Brain computer interfaces (BCI) introduce a communication channel that expands the user-to-computer bandwidth by translating human thoughts or intentions into a control signal. Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive, easy to use, portable device which contains all of the characteristics suitable for use in realistic HCI settings. The fNIRS device measures the blood flow in the brain by shining light through the skull at the pre-frontal cortex. By using fNIRS, we can better gauge the user's mental workload during tasks. Results show the ability to differentiate between levels of workload and multitasking events. My plans for future work use cognitive learning with fNIRS. First, a study measuring rule-based versus action selection. With promising results from this study, I intend to use fNIRS in interfaces such as chat and gaming. This will further expand the entities that fNIRS can measure.