Here we provide a short description of the CRCN's main experimental facilities.
The CRCN features an integrated research plateau with standard and homogeneous computerized equipment for behavioural testing in dedicated lab rooms. We have several individual booths as well as a larger facility that makes it possible to test up to 8 participants simultaneously. Most experimental paradigms that exclusively involve behavioural measures, such as reaction time or accuracy, can be deployed on these simple workstations. Such paradigms may concern different domains of cognitive or social psychology, e.g., memory, implicit learning, psycholinguistics, priming, or cognitive control. Some paradigms (i.e., subliminal priming) require more stringent test conditions and are typically deployed in booths that offer specialised screens, individual testing, as well as control over illumination.
The BabyLab is dedicated to cognitive research in infants. It mainly uses video recording, audio and video stimulus delivery and head orientation techniques.
For more information visit the BabyLab website.
The EEG/sleep laboratory is installed in an insulated room (Faraday, soundproof cage with air conditioning system) with the necessary equipment to conduct long-term recordings without disturbing participants (video-monitoring, stimulus delivery, insulated interfaces, adapted bed, etc.). An advanced biopotential measurement system suitable for high-quality EEG/ERPs and EMG measurements recording (64-channels Biosemi Active ®) equips the laboratory, and is in use in various electrophysiology paradigms.
The CRCN possesses an optical brain imaging Brainsight ® NIRS system. Near-infrared spectroscopy [NIRS] is a non-invasive functional neuroimaging technique that uses the properties of infrared light diffusion. NIRS detects changes in blood oxygenated and de-oxygenated haemoglobin levels that reflects variations in brain activity at the cortical level. Our NIRS system features 8 light emitting sources and 32 light detectors (optodes), allowing adequate coverage or neural activity in several regions of interest at a time, both in healthy participants and in populations with specific diseases.
Non-invasive electrical brain stimulation techniques use weak currents to modulate brain excitability, allowing non-invasive brain stimulation in various settings (e.g. sleep). The CRCN possesses a neuroConn ®DC-STIMULATOR PLUS usable for transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) and transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (tRNS).
The CRCN possesses an eye tracking system (Eyelink 1000 with remote camera; SR research ®) allowing the analysis of eye movements and pupil dilation during cognitive tasks. Oculometry provides important information about which aspects of a stimulus participants are paying attention to. Analyzing the dynamics of eye movement trajectories also makes it possible to reconstruct how a participant explored a visual scene. In other cases, eye tracking data is used in real time to control what a participant can and cannot see, for instance by removing a stimulus as soon as the participant's eyes saccade towards it.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) measures changes in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses that reflect local variations in brain activity, in the whole brain. The 3-Tesla Philips Achieva MRI scanner available at the Erasme University hospital is equipped with high-quality MR-compatible video-audio stimulation and response interfaces (fORP ® optical keyboards allowing 10 simultaneous key presses), as well as an eye tracking system (ASL ® Long-Range R6LRO E6000).
Magnetoencephalography measures the tiny magnetic fields resulting from electrical neural activity, at the scale of the millisecond. The Elekta ® Neuromag system available at the Erasme Hospital's MEG unit features 306 channels and is equipped with MEG-compatible video-audio-tactile stimulation and response interfaces (fORP ® optical keyboards), as well as an eye tracking system (ASL ® Long-Range R6LRO E6000).