CIMeC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences

Faculty coordinator: Veronica Mazza

Technician in charge: Massimo Vescovi

Mission statement

The Experimental Psychology Lab (EPL) is part of the interdisciplinary CIMeC facilities.  EPL is operational since 2006, and provides scientific and technical support to research in human cognition, with particular emphasis on behavior and electrophysiology. To this end, the facility includes several systems for eye tracking, multisensory stimulation, kinematic and EEG recordings.

The Facility provides support in training and in some basic aspects of project execution.

Operational structure

Presentation of experimental stimuli is typically controlled by Eprime, Matlab (Psychtoolbox) and Open Sesame. EPL consists of five different lab areas.

Psychophysics Labs

There are five workstations, all equipped with a PC, monitor, and sound speakers (some workstations are also equipped with a response box, voicekey, microphone and headset). Two workstations are equipped with an Eyelink host Computer for connecting Eye tracking remote systems. A PLATO (Portable Liquid-Crystal Apparatus for Tachistoscopic Occlusion) system is available for the tachistoscopic presentation of separate stimuli to the two eyes. Two stereoscopes are also available.

Eye Tracking Lab

The tracking of eye movements is conducted with the help of five SR Eyelink Systems (EyeLink 1000; 4 remote systems, 1 tower-mount in a dedicated area). In addition, there is a monitor-integrated Tobii T120 (Tobii AB).

Multisensory Lab

The multisensory lab is equipped with a sound-attenuated and anechoic booth and currently hosts several devices for stimulation in vision, hearing, touch and olfaction. The equipment for tactile stimulation includes two systems for electro-tactile stimulation (Digitimer), and some custom-built interface for vibrotactile stimulation. A custom-built olfactometer allows for the presentation of up to 8
different odors. A BIOPAC system for Psychophysiological measurements is also available in the lab.

Kinematics Lab

The Lab is equipped with the instruments for recordings of action movements (mainly, hands and arms). The Qualisys motion capture system provides quantitative measurements of human movements (http://www.qualisys.com). The system comprises 4 infrared digital cameras that capture and calculate 2- and 3-D coordinates of markers placed on the participant.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

The EEG lab has dedicated space for EEG preparation (preparation room), EEG recordings (silent booth) and EEG data analyses (analysis room). The EEG lab is equipped with a 64-channel system for AC/DC recordings (Brain Products GmbH), an electrically-shielded booth (Sispe), and three workstations for EEG/ERP analysis (BrainAnalyzer, Brain Products GmbH). The electrical brain activity is recorded by means of EEG caps (EASYCAP or actiCAP). An Eyelink 1000 (SR Research) can be used to concurrently record eye movement and EEG.

Staff currently provides basic support for training and project execution for CIMeC members, DIPSCo members and their collaborators. No user fees have been introduced so far.

Access rules

To access EPL, researchers submit a Research proposal form to the Faculty coordinator and the technician in charge, specifying the names of the researchers involved and documenting the approval of the project by the Ethics Committee of the University of Trento, if required by the project (essential for EEG lab). The researchers also have to get in contact with the technician in charge before setting up their experiment.

To use the Eye tracking equipment and for the Kinematics Lab, the researchers have to undergo a brief training with an expert user.

For the EEG Lab, only independent users can conduct EEG recordings. To become independent users, researchers have to follow a training, which consists in assisting a variable number of EEG recording sessions conducted by independent users of the lab. The faculty coordinator will then assist one EEG recording session conducted by the researchers to verify their independence.