Neuroadaptive training research & applications
Neuroscientific Research on Clinical Reasoning
We have pioneered one of the first neuroscientific research programs dedicated to studying clinical reasoning in medicine. Our research is guided by dual-process theory, a cognitive framework that encompasses two distinct types of mental processes: System 1 and System 2. System 1 is characterized by fast, automatic, and intuitive thinking, whereas System 2 is associated with slow, deliberate, analytical, and rational thinking.
Through our research, we have successfully identified neuroscientific correlates that support dual-process theory, demonstrating that System 2 reasoning is associated with significant activation in the prefrontal cortex, a critical region for higher-order cognitive functions. This finding has contributed to a better understanding of the neural underpinnings of diagnostic reasoning.
In a more recent study, we explored the changes in brain activation as medical students learned to diagnose chest X-rays. By employing functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure brain activity, our findings revealed a shift from System 2 to System 1 thinking as students became more adept at interpreting chest X-rays. This transition from analytical, deliberate reasoning (System 2) to more intuitive, automatic thinking (System 1) signifies the development of medical expertise and diagnostic skills among learners.
The observed brain activation changes hold significant potential for determining changes in brain plasticity and evaluating the effectiveness of learning interventions in medical education. By monitoring these alterations, we can gain valuable insights into the neural mechanisms underlying the development of clinical reasoning skills, ultimately we hope that these insights will inform and enhance medical training and education programs.
functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging technique that measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood oxygen levels. It works by shining near-infrared light into the brain and measuring how much light is absorbed or reflected. Since oxygenated and deoxygenated blood absorb light differently, fNIRS can estimate the levels of oxygen in the blood, which are linked to brain activity. In simpler terms, fNIRS is a method that helps us understand how the brain works by tracking blood oxygen changes when we think, make decisions, or perform tasks.
fNIRS offers several advantages over other neuroimaging techniques: (1) it is non-invasive; (2) it is highly portable; (3) it is tolerant to movement; (4) it is cost-effective; (5) it can be used simultaneously with EEG; (6) there is minimal discomfort; (7) it allows for real-time monitoring.
We offer expert guidance in designing tailored fNIRS research projects and empower researchers with the skills they need to excel in this innovative field. Our specialized training focuses on the use of nirSport and CortiVision, leading solutions for reliable and accurate fNIRS data collection (see: https://aerobe.com/research-products/). We ensure you can create experiments that perfectly leverage fNIRS capabilities for impactful results. Our dedicated training program encompasses the use of nirStar/ CortiView for seamless data acquisition and nirsLab/CortiPrism/Homer3 for efficient data processing and analysis. We walk you through each step of the data processing journey, ensuring you can confidently prepare your data for in-depth analysis. Beyond data preparation, our training extends to analyzing and interpreting fNIRS data using Homer3, CortiPrism and nirsLab software packages. With our expert guidance, you’ll unlock the full potential of fNIRS, delivering unparalleled insights into the fascinating world of brain function.
Neuroadaptive Simulator Training
What is the issue with conventional simulator training?
Traditional performance assessments in simulators rely heavily on behavioral observations by instructors, such as checklists.
This approach has limitations, as it does not effectively measure the trainee’s mental effort, workload, or changes in brain plasticity (Mark et al., 2022; Ungerleider et al., 2002).
Furthermore, individual differences can result in inefficient skills acquisition, as trainees may progress at varying rates or require different levels of mental effort (Dotson et al., 2018).
What is neuroadaptive training?
Neuroadaptive training is a personalized approach to learning and training that leverages advances in neuroscience, technology, and data analysis to tailor interventions based on an individual’s unique neural and cognitive profile.
The primary goal of neuroadaptive training is to optimize learning and performance by adjusting the training or intervention to the individual’s neural and cognitive responses.
We are currently involved in a number of neuroadaptive simulator training projects to explore how fNIRS can be used to make high-fidelity simulators more effective and cost-efficient by identifying personalized learning needs. We have high hopes that this new approach to simulator training will revolutionize the training landscape.