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Neurocognitive Processing Laboratory

The Neurocognitive Processing Laboratory associated with the Department of Cognitive Science is located at Łojasiewicza 6, Kraków, in the building of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. Our laboratory is equipped with NIRScoutX 48‑32 optical spectroscope (NIRx, USA), Active2 Base Euro EEG system (Biosemi, Netherlands), two high-quality eye-trackers (SR Research EyeLink 1000 Plus, Canada and Tobii REX, Sweden), several PC workstations and servers, and software for data analysis: Brain Vision Analyzer (for EEG), Homer and NAVI (for NIRS), Statistica 13, Experiment Builder (for design of EyeLink procedures), and Data Viewer (for eye-tracking data analyses).

The NIRScoutX system is a non-invasive brain imaging tool measuring changes in cortical hemodynamic responses (oxygenated and de-oxygenated hemoglobin [Hb] levels) via detection of the attenuation of near-infra-red light waves passing through tissue using 48 sources and 32 detectors. Increased oxy-Hb and decreased deoxy-Hb concentrations typically indicate increased regional cortical activation (the demand/supply and the factual use of oxygen by brain, respectively). Compared with fMRI, fNIRS has higher temporal resolution and lower sensitivity to motion artifacts. The advantages of fNIRS over EEG include higher spatial resolution and lack of sensitivity to electromagnetic interference. The limitation of the fNIRS system is that it can record data only from the outer part of the cortex. Nonetheless, it constitutes a very good compromise between the advantages of EEG and fMRI, and has some additional advantages, which makes it a widely trusted tool in research on higher cognition. Notably, the NIRScoutX system has a hyper-scanning function, which allows to perform multi-subject studies.

BioSemi Active2 Base Euro is one of the newest generations of EEG systems, specifically designed to be used in scientific research applications. It registers brain electrical activity non-invasively, with excellent (millisecond) temporal resolution. It contains a set of 64 active electrodes, recording the electrical potential at the surface of the scalp, and additionally 8 peripheral electrodes. The system is suitable for use in polygraphic registration, including electroencephalography, electromyography, electrocardiography and electrodermal response measurement. It means that apart from the EEG registration, it can be used to record the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles, peripheral nerves, cardiac muscle, as well as to measure galvanic skin response.

EyeLink 1000 Plus eye-tracking equipment allows for measuring eye fixations with .05 degree spatial accuracy and 500 Hz temporal resolution. Data analysis software enables researchers to perform individual and aggregate data analysis, such as heat maps, scan paths, time plots, as well as eye sample, fixation, saccade, and interest area reports.