Next in line in our steering group introductions is Professor Jari Hietanen from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University. Jari is the leader of the Human Information Processing (HIP)-laboratory, where the focus of research is on studying perception of socially relevant information, and the neural mechanisms behind it.
The group is particularly interested in perception of the human face and social behaviour. The group aims to answer the question, how the social information we receive from other individuals (for example facial expressions and direction of the gaze) affect the attention, emotions and motivation of the observer. Furthermore, it is of interest how the attention, emotions and motivations mould the observers’ attentiveness to socially relevant information. These processes are studied on both adults and children of different age groups. Also neurobiological developmental disorders (such as autism spectrum disorder), biological developmental factors (eg. the quality of sleep), mental health problems, rearing environment, transitional in life situation (eg. pregnancy, having a child, loneliness), and their effect on the ability to perceive socially relevant information and emotional self-regulation are being studied extensively.
The focus of the research is on basic research, but some of the studies also aim to develop diagnostic methods or rehabilitation tools for impairments affecting social behavior. Different kinds of physiological measurements (eg. EEG, which is measuring the electrical activity of the brain), brain imaging (functional MRI, fMRI), eye-tracking and observation of behaviour (eg. interaction between children and their parents).
- Our research is a good example of the type of neuroscience research, where success requires multidisciplinarity and collaboration between specialists from many different fields. Thanks to Tampere Brain & Mind network, all of us working in this network will have better opportunities to conduct significant research in our fields, believes Jari Hietanen.
For more information:
Human Information Processing -laboratory
Tampere Brain & Mind is part of the national Neurocenter Finland, spread across six cities in Finland. You can read more about our national network here.