The ability to anticipate future input seems to underpin many cognitive processes, allowing cognitive agents to respond adequately to fast input signals. Thus, a fundamental question in cognitive neuroscience is what mechanisms might give rise to such signal processing capabilities.

In the simplest visual-motor coordination experiments, participants are asked to minimise the positional error between a tracer and a target. The tracer motion on the display are correlated with the hand motion by the manipulator. We will perform the EEG experiments in the target tracking experiments to investigate the brain mechanisms of the anticipatory behaviour, focusing on the functional connectivity of the somato-sensory and motor area of the brain.

The functional connectivity defined by phase synchronisation of the brain waves between the cortical areas should represent the perceptual and cognitive processes to anticipate the position of target at the next step. Thus, we can reveal how the functional networks of the brain rhythms performs the integrative brain process in the visual-motor loop of brain and body. We hypothesise that the small world network, hub connections mediating the short path lengths, should appear across the visual-motor loop of the brain as effective networks to process information and that the frontal lob should excite or inhibit the loop at a degree of anticipation.

The expected applications are 1) Brain Computer Interface (BCI) to capture dynamical reorganisation of brain activity in order to control the external device. Also, the developed functional connectivity analysis can be used to monitor the brain recovery of the stroke patients, predicting the recovery of the sensory-motor integration. 2) Reinterpretation the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) condition in terms of disruption of the sensory-motor closed loop between brain and body.

Project Research Group

Dr. Yoshikatsu Hayashi

Lecturer of Robotics, University of Reading

Prof. Slawomir Nasuto

Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading

Xinzhe Li

PhD Student, University of Reading