OK here goes. A brief time ago we recorded real-time EEG while a person walked and shopped in a grocery store. An abbreviated version of the movie can be seen here.
As you can see, besides the large frame showing what the person is oriented towards (although there is no eye-tracking) the smaller right hand frame displays a flurry of brain activation. Basically, this shows alpha-band activation, and the source localization is done by algorithms on a Nokia N900 smartphone.
The aim of this movie was a proof-of-concept approach. We were able to demonstrate that we can use this approach, we have sufficient signal for appropriate analysis, and at the same time we made some nice public appearance in the Danish national broadcast company.
Now, the time is ready for more scrutinizing research, and through coming blog posts, I will let you in on this approach. Basically, although we were able to make cool brain signals in the store, there are still many important issues to be resolved, including:
- finding a suitable set-up – this is probably the smalles of problems; one could compare different conditions (picking an object and putting it down again vs picking an object and putting it in the basket), or even states (women’s level of alpha band activation while in the grocery store vs the shoe store…)
- minimizing noise – although much can be done with noise reduction algorithms, there is still a need for starting off with a stationary set-up with a higher degree of control over signals, and then move out of the lab
- identifying neural predictors of …. (purchase, attention, memory, … fill in the blanks) – also done best first in the lab, and then moved into the mobile settings
- being creative – the tool can be used for so much more than in-store decisions. Imaging using it at the museum, at the casino, when driving a car, for patients studies, at the trading floor….!!!!